New 4-H Facility Finally Approved

4-H pic
Plan For New 4-H Facility Finally Approved
By: Kelly Woodard

Pensacola agriculture will soon be getting a boost as the Escambia County Commissioners approved construction of a new $1.47 million 4-H center. The approval of the project comes after weeks of delay due to disagreements over the land that the site will call home.

After weeks of negotiating, a compromise deal, brokered by Commissioner Steven Barry, was reached Tuesday that includes the 4-H community and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Services. Pensacola-based A.E. New Jr. Inc., has been commissioned to build the new Escambia County 4-H Center at the Escambia County Extension Office property on Stefani Road.
The previous proposal stated that the 240-acre Langley Bell 4-H Center in Beulah that the 4-H Foundation sold to Navy Federal Credit Union in 2012 for $3.6 million could only be replaced after $1.6 million of the proceeds was used to purchase land to replace the 240 acres lost by 4-H.

After much controversy within the 4-H and the local farming community, a new plan was proposed where IFAS would purchase 108 acres near Molino for about $530,000 that would be used for agriculture, animal programs and outdoor education, and would compensate the loss of the Langley Bell property leaving almost $3 million for programs, activities and scholarships for 4-H youths.

Both parties seem pleased with the final agreement, and Barry said, "We look forward to getting this project underway and hope it will improve the 4-H programs in our area and the benefits that they provide our communities."