You will recall that Dr. Helen B. Miller had been working with Hamilton County, Suwannee and Columbia Counties to promote the interchange of County Road 136 and I-75 as a prime spot for distribution and new hotels. The development of this area as an asset that can be greatly enhanced by running utilities (water/sewer) out to the interchange; the first step to accomplish this is to create a cooperative agreement between the three counties, seeing as all three would need to be involved in an effort to install the infrastructure needed. Once this is accomplished, the Cooperative could advertise available properties along this area for development, given its proximity to I-10 as well as new hotels. From a transportation planning perspective, this interchange is an untapped asset and has the ability to expand development in all four directions. The Cooperative might explore the Transportation Regional Incentive Programs available through the Florida Department of Transportation to assist in this effort.
White Springs Mayor Helen Miller even joined the North Florida Today show to talk about further developing the economy of White Springs. She spoke on what the big picture projections are and what she’s done during her 5-year tenure so far. Miller calls for a multi-jurisdictional agreement between Columbia, Hamilton and Suwannee Counties to help develop the I75/County Road 136 interchange.
But in 2015, outgoing White Springs Town Manager Bill Lawrence gave the Competitive Florida Partnership (CFP) program through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) a thumbs down at a June 9 workshop of the town council. The program has just completed its second year.
Lawrence apparently was not keen on two projects the town is considering as part of the CFP – a major project at the I-75/CR 136 interchange that is located right outside White Springs, though it is located in Suwannee County; and an eco-lodge. He mentioned at the Time that Mayor Miller’s vision was a pie-in-the sky idea, missing practicality. And at the time he was ready to leave White Springs Lawrence had been working diligently with Rhett Bullard and Tonja Brown and then counselor Willie Jefferson to remove Miller as Mayor.
Lawrence did state further that this was the first time three counties were brought to gether which was a good thing.
The Suwannee County commissioners considered a draft interlocal agreement between Suwannee, Hamilton and Columbia counties to partner on the interchange but decided not to move forward at the moment.
So the Project was dropped and this is what is happening now:
At the interchange there is 160 some acres at 31-01S-12E-0975900-0000- It is owned by Lillian and Marcus Sessions and another guy by the name of Dennis Crenshaw who is the trustee and they live in Kaystone Heights, 32656. That 160 acres of land is at the interchange exit. The land it said was purchased and transferred by Larry Sessions District 4 Commissioner Suwannee County to Lillian and Marcus Sessions.
Originally the land was to have been sold to another man who had adjoining property but it seemed as though after Dr. Helen Miller laid out all the plans for the economic development of the interchange, property is being purchased by those who were involved at the time. It is rumored that Live Oak even purchased some property just past the Farmers Market and someone purchased land behind the McDonalds. It is rumored that one of the Bullard Family may have purchased some of the property and if that is true, I am certain it is Rhett.
We have no idea if there is a plan in motion stealing Helen B. Miller’s Economic Development Ideas or if this is an “Insider knowledge” situation where the land is being purchased now so that when someone wishes to develop it at a later date, the insiders can make a killing
Karin for the blog