Public comments are running HOT on this issue of a land swap with the Econ River Wilderness Area, which is a designed, taxpayer-funded, Seminole County owned conservation area.
Here is one letter that sums it all up:
Steve Muise to Save the Econ River Wilderness Park 2/24/2020
My letter to the commissioners:
Letter to our Seminole County Commissioners – Stop the Swap
This swap is a lose, lose, lose, and lose proposition.
Point 1: if you agree to this swap, you set a more egregious precedent for this type of dismantling of our conservation system.
Point 2: The conservation and preservation value loss is enormous. The cost to bring the river cross 660+ acres of Longleaf pine habitat back to an ecologically functioning state and to install the infrastructure needed for community use is counterproductive. Besides, you would be erasing 25 years of $$$$ and effort that has made the Econ wilderness area a productive and compatible extension of the Econ watershed. This conservation area is used by our citizens and the nearby UCF community. It is a functioning ecosystem, classroom, and community recreation area. Trading it for River cross betrays an agreement made over 25 years ago, tosses away untold dollars spent on its operation and maintenance and denies the community an education classroom and recreation area.
Point 3: You avoid a Federal lawsuit that has no merits, yet if you swap and compromise, it will become the banner and rallying point for every entity that wants to bully local municipalities whose self-governance wishes to be rural! You will eventually have to take on this type of legal maneuvering again if you are going to serve the wishes of your constituents truly.
Point 4: You lose the opportunity to send the appropriate signal to our neighbors to the south. As the two significant residential developments creep closer to realization, our actions here will send a message that the north end of the McCulloch corridor is rural and will stay rural! If you blink here and trade the Econ Wilderness, you will blink again and compromise with River Cross. The push from the south and the pressure to initiate a continuance and development of McCulloch Rd will mark the end of trust for our elected officials and the end to Seminole rural boundary.
— with Lynn Muise.