Premier Park’s current planning has hinted that 2022 may include a different direction for the future of the 161 acres the county purchased in October 2020 at the intersection of State Road 64 and Lena Road in County of California. East.
The county’s $ 32.5 million purchase from Musgrave Real Estate Holdings was to be used to build a new operations center to service East County and provide more space to extend the life of the adjacent Lena Road landfill. It was controversial as the deal was approved just before the election in which the new county commissioners – James Satcher, George Kruse and Kevin Van Ostenbridge – asked whether to pay $ 187,488 an acre from the reserves. County ($ 16.8 million) and Utilities Department ($ 15.7 million) was good management of taxpayer dollars.
Next, Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea was criticized by members of the post-2020 electoral commission for pushing to buy the Lena Road land. Van Ostenbridge said he disagreed with the direction Coryea was leading the commissioner as a whole and cited the $ 32.5 million purchase as a specific example.
Satcher said the purchase was a mistake and Satcher and Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said the county needed to be more conservative with taxpayer dollars. Coryea and the county signed a separation agreement in February 2021.
Baugh said the current commission can correct what it considers a land purchase error.
“I hope it gets sold,” Baugh said of the Lena Road pitch. “And I think there is a good possibility that it could happen.”
Since the purchase, nothing definitive has been presented on the land plans while in Premier Park, plans have emerged to put in satellite services and an EMS / Sheriff’s Office gas station. Could other services for Lena Road land be directed to Premier Park land?
Manatee County field crews currently operate from facilities in western Manatee County near GT Bray Park, and another near Tropicana in the central part of the county, which covers more than 800 square miles. , therefore, services in East County are needed. This raises the question of whether only part of the Lena Road land would be sold by the county.
Commissioner Carol Whitmore said the county needed space for a transfer station and to expand the landfill.
“If we use it, great,” Whitmore said. “If we sell it that’s fine too, as long as we can extend our 20-year discharge and use part of this property, I’ll be happy.”
A Manatee County statement in October 2020 said the purchase of the land would help extend the life of the landfill by six years and estimated that value at “$ 75 million in landfill airspace.” .
In 2018, county commissioners asked his staff to look east for a new government facility to help meet space needs and respond to service requests more efficiently. Staff were also urged to search for land to serve as a site for a new landfill if needed. However, staff returned in 2020 with a proposal that included land for a transfer station.
Baugh said in 2020 this was an example of staff trying to control the commission.
“It’s my hope the new council starts looking at things from a different perspective,” Baugh said in an East County Observer story in 2020. “The administrator runs the county. Well, it’s got out of hand. We have to look at things from the taxpayer’s point of view, not from the point of view of the staff and what they want. It doesn’t matter. It really depends on the citizens of Manatee. And that’s what we stand for.
As the scope of what was needed overall grew after staff began researching the commission’s initial request, Manatee County Sheriff Rick Wells said in the October 2020 release. that land for fleet operations was needed.
“It’s just about building something that should have been built 10 years ago,” Wells said. “The property itself is a good location as it will meet the needs of our daily fleet operations and it will be easier for my assistants to get to this location.”
Initial plans called for a sheriff’s office district office at the Lena Road site to replace its office near SR 64 and I-75. The site could also accommodate 100 cruisers awaiting maintenance.
Satcher said he was not sure what would happen to the property.
“It’s a good location on the one hand, but on the other hand they paid an absolute premium for it,” he said. “It’s still next to an active landfill. So I’m not sure what the county has planned at this time.”
Kruse said he had “heard whispers” about some plans that may be on the horizon, but said he was unable to discuss them at this time.
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