LIVE OAK — When planning the First Federal Sportsplex, the recreation board had a 20-year plan for the development of the park.
Now, 30 years later there isn’t room for further development at the Sportsplex.
The Suwannee County Board of County Commissioners, though, agreed at its May 21 meeting to purchase 69.11 acres of property that is contiguous to the park to aid in future development and expansion, following the rec board’s recommendation.
The purchase will be made using funds available in the recreation fund.
“For those of you that don’t use it or aren’t out there on the weekends, it’s to capacity,” said Chairman Ricky Gamble, who also serves on the rec board. “The only place that we can go with it is south and that’s the land that’s going to be available.
“We thought it was a great opportunity.”
County Administrator Randy Harris echoed those thoughts.
“We won’t get this opportunity again,” Harris said. “We won’t have property that’s adjoining the Sportsplex. It just makes this an opportunity for us.”
Harris said the county would provide more information about the planned purchase once the sale is finalized.
The purchase price for the new property is less than the county paid for the current Sportsplex property, which is 40 acres, according to information in the board’s agenda information.
Conservation District Farm Family recognized
The Suwannee County Conservation District also recognized its Farm Family of the Year, the Garrison Brothers Farm, at the meeting.
Andy Jackson, chairman of the Conservation District, also reminded the board of the impact farming and agriculture plays not only in Suwannee County but the entire Suwannee Valley.
Jackson said the area is a major player in the world when it comes to agriculture, adding the county is tops in Florida when it comes to sales of livestock, poultry and their products. He said according to information from UF/IFAS Extension, the county’s farm and forestry products totaled $425.8 million and accounted for 1810 direct jobs in 2015.
“Yes, we need jobs and we need something for people to work and stay here,” he said. “But let’s not forget about who is carrying us right now.
“I’d put our farmers up against anybody in the United States.”
The board presented a certificate to Don Garrison in recognition of the honor.