4-H Kids To Decide $3.6 Million Sale Of Langley Bell To Navy Federal

February 28, 2012

Navy Federal has offered $3.6 million for the Langley Bell-H Center property in Beulah to expand, but the future of that sale could depend on the vote of a few dozen children ages 8 to 18.

The children make up the 4-H County Council. Under the property deed, the Council must approve any sale of the 240 acres.

Escambia County is willing to spend well over a  million from local option sales tax monies to build the 4-H’ers a new facility at the Escambia County Extension Office on Stefani Road in Cantonment. The facility would include a new building and pond on the 23-acre parcel.

Monday, member of the 4-H Council and their parents toured the land for the proposed facility at the Extension Office before a discussion meeting.

“They would be paying us to come here and build a building, and we wouldn’t be getting any more land,” 4-H Council member Eliza Eligio said. “We would not be benefiting from really from doing that.” She said that despite the jobs that might be at stake, she’s not convinced that the land sale to Navy Federal is good idea.

And that was the apparent sentiment among most of the 4-H Council members Monday as they participated in a question and answer session moderated by an attorney hired by the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s being used for what it needs to be used for, and I don’t really feel that any other lands can fulfill what it’s fulfilling right now,” 4-H member McKenzie Helmick (pictured left) said.

The 4-H Council, comprised of delegates from each of the county’s 20 plus 4-H Clubs, will vote on the proposed sale in March.

Navy Federal has said that if the sale is rejected, new jobs for the company in Escambia County would be difficult. The company is adding about 400 jobs per year, soon reaching capacity at their current 65-acre campus.

Escambia County Commissioners are trustees of the land, according to the deed. Commissioners could possible overrule the 4-H Council should they vote against the land sale, but that’s not totally clear.

4-H supporter Dr. M. Langley Bell, Jr. donated 400 acres to Escambia County for the Langley Bell 4-H Center. The center, which is now 240 of the original 400 acres, is used for events such as 4-H camps, retreats, timber projects, livestock projects, and as a meeting site for extension agents. The Langley Bell 4-H Center comprises about 240 acres of the original 400 acres. Four cabins, a kitchen, meeting hall, nature trails, forestry and livestock educational areas, barns, pastures, a 5-acre lake, and a campfire circle are part of the 4-H center’s learning environment.

Pictured top: Navy Federal wants to purchase the  The Langley Bell 4-H Center and their 240 acres in Beulah for $3.6 million. Pictured top inset: 4-H Council members tour the proposed 23-acre site of a new Langley Bell 4-H Center on the site of the Escambia County Extension Office in Cantonment. Photos courtesy WEAR 3 for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Comments

72 Responses to “4-H Kids To Decide $3.6 Million Sale Of Langley Bell To Navy Federal”

  1. Robert on March 3rd, 2012 12:02 pm

    This is a scam being perpetrated on the citizens and children of Escambia County. If you dig deeply enough, you will find SOME REASON for the support this almost criminal act enjoys.

    The ONLY reasonable treatment here would be for the sale to be for the purchase of another, larger, BETTER facility.

    They are not being offered 23 acres in exchange for 240 (that WAS 400), they are being offered a BUILDING and some use of 23 acres THE COUNTY ALREADY OWNS!

    WHERE IS THE $3.6 MILLION GOING?

    Navy Federal won’t build or hire here if they cant get the land? I doubt it.

    Why do they need 240 acres to employ 600 people? Are they gonna farm it? (Sarcasm there for the unknowing).

    SOMEBODY is benefitting here that shouldn’t (just like the previous deal with Mr. Childers), but by the time it comes out, the land will be gone and the poeple responsible will have been voted out of office.

    Now the 4H children will understand a little about how the native Americans felt. Those elected or appointed to look out for you aren’t always ethically or morally up to the task. SHAME on the County Commisioners.

  2. molino jim on March 3rd, 2012 11:09 am

    @ Idunno— The Bayer property was just an example of the property that is possible to buy. There are a lot of people trying to help with the sell and give the area more jobs. One fast question— who does the property belong to? Has ” 4-H” paid taxes on it, who covers insurance on it? As to the field on the other side the Navy (government) thinks it’s theirs. As to going “UP” there are problems with the flights landing in the helo field next door.

  3. AL on March 2nd, 2012 7:04 pm

    WRENCHMAN – believe me when I tell you that while it may not have been advertised where YOU saw it, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t advertised. 4H (whether adults, county..whatever) entertained offers, now they have one for more than the land is worth that will result in hundreds of local jobs….

  4. billy on March 2nd, 2012 3:35 pm

    Again…….I will never do business with Navy Federal.

  5. Interested 3rd party on March 2nd, 2012 2:33 pm

    As someone who has been following this story for some time now i would just like to enter in my opinions

    Firstly based on what i have gathered from reading a few posts, some of you are under the impression that the 4-H is simply going to get a 23 acre parcel of land and that navy federal is going to tell them to beat it. This is not the case. Navy federal is also going to give the 4-H 3.6 MILLION DOLLARS! Now of course some of that money will have to go to the county as a they are a governing body but COME ON. You can build plenty of barns and buy some nice new cows, chickens, and tractors for that much money. So quit acting like the 4-H is getting totally shafted in this deal because they are not.

    Secondly Navy Federal employs LOCAL WORKERS for the VAST MAJORITY of its workforce. I double dare you to ask a random person in Escambia or Santa Rosa county if they work at navy federal or know someone who does.You wont have to ask many before you see that navy federal is very much a pillar in the job market of our community.

    Lastly, As a former member of 4-H and FFA i understand as well as anyone the importance of having adequate space and material for conducting necessary studies and activities for these amazingly vital organizations, and that loosing the Langley Bell property to Navy federal would be a POTENTIAL setback but I also know from being involved with these organizations that there are many many other locations where the same work can be done just as effectively and the Local 4H as an origination will have a significant amount of capital to work with in procuring new facilities.

    Agriculture is paramount to our survival as a species, but jobs are paramount to our survival as a community. Both are important but only the jobs in this scenario are in danger. Just an opinion….

  6. WRENCHMAN on March 2nd, 2012 2:20 pm

    @ AL,, 4-H DID NOT ADVERTISE LAND FOR SALE. IT IS ALL PAM ALLENS DOINGS… SHE IS TRYING TO SELL IT OUT FROM UNDER THE KIDS…………….. THATS THE HOLE POINT HERE. THE KIDS ARE TRYING TO PROTECT WHAT IS THEIRS, FOR THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE KIDS.. WITHOUT 4-H AND FFA WE WILL NOT HAVE THE HAMBURGERS STEAKS AND VEGGIES WE EAT TODAY. AND IM PRETTY FOND OF MY STEAKS AND POTATOS. IM GLAD MY YEARS IN 4-H AND TATE FFA TAUGHT ME HOW TO RAISE MY OWN FOOD……
    JUST SAYING

  7. concerned on March 2nd, 2012 10:43 am

    Why doesn’t navy federal look into the huge clear lot on the other side of them that is a helicopter field that I rarely ever see being used except when they cut the grass???

  8. creekbather on March 2nd, 2012 4:09 am

    florida is a right to work state,,,,,how many jobs will be filled with out of towners,.,,,,, how many jobs will actually be filled from this area,,,,…. 23 acres is not enough land for 4-h’ers , ,, they need acreage for hands on experiance,,,,,,,,,if they build a building as a trade off ,,,,,,,can the kids plant ,till, and build fence in it?, .

  9. idunno on March 1st, 2012 10:11 pm

    Molino Jim; A BIG “NO” to Bayer property on Crabtree. There’s stuff in the earth there that we don’t want our kids around. I’ve heard for years that experimental procedures have been conducted on this land. “Don’t jump the fence to pick the corn”……maybe I ‘m wrong,….. but I’m not chancing it!

  10. billy on March 1st, 2012 10:08 pm

    Hang in there 4-H kids. I will never do business with Navy Federal as long as I live. Navy Federal …..you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  11. AL on March 1st, 2012 9:37 pm

    If there is such a fuss about selling, why was 4H entertaining offers on the land in the first place? Can’t count on much media (other than here of course ;) ) to report the full story that Navy Federal was one of many offers and it was/ is the best offer. Now because they are a larger entity they are suddenly a manipulative bullying boogey man?

  12. Gus on March 1st, 2012 5:59 am

    @molino jim, Wasn’t it Navy Federal’s call center??????

  13. David Huie Green on March 1st, 2012 5:25 am

    REGARDING:
    “I would take this case pro-bono (?) for these kids!!”

    And what would you do with it?

    They aren’t being sued or charged with a crime. They are being made an offer many of them don’t favor but which many others want them to take. You might negotiate a better offer for them if they wanted your services but that doesn’t require a law degree or passing the bar.

    David just wondering

  14. Tired on February 29th, 2012 11:47 pm

    It’s times like this that I wish I would have went to Law School…..I would take this case pro-bono (?) for these kids!! Why can’t NFCU build elsewhere???? Why do they REALLY want this paticular property????

  15. Gerald Lamb on February 29th, 2012 7:22 pm

    The Langley Bell Center was origionally 400 acres. Some was sold or taken for
    I- 10 construction and then approximately 65 acres was sold to NFCU, which got us into the mess we are in today. I like the idea that molino jim has suggested, however I have been away too long to visualize the bayer property. Hopefully there is a lake or potential for lake, water and trees. I have an aunt along big rock creek and an uncle that those two pieces would replicate the LBC. It is at the end of Parker Rd. And the biggest rock in Florida is there, thus the name big rock creek.
    Maybe 4-H could take a play from NFCU playbook and offer Bayer 1/2 the 2,100,000 and have a lot more in the bank for future use!

  16. Jimbo on February 29th, 2012 6:45 pm

    @ support jobs: Sir, do you think that somehow NFCU will not bring these jobs to Pensacola in the event that the Kids do not wish to “sell out’? When Mr. Bell gifted this land to the 4-H club, it was not given with the option that the land given may be bartered. I’m about tired of hearing this baseless arguement. If the land is to no longer be used for 4-H/ FFA use, then it should be dutifully returned to the lawful heirs of Mr. Bell. Rattlesnakes, Rats, and Skunks is what I’ll call the forces that try to seperate these kids with THEIR property. Butt out NFCU!!

  17. Scott on February 29th, 2012 6:40 pm

    Jeeper…I could be wrong:

    “4-H supporter Dr. M. Langley Bell, Jr. donated 400 acres to Escambia County for the Langley Bell 4-H Center.” PNJ seems to think the County owns this, too. County involvement is not a recent development.

    Where is your info coming from? And why don’t any of these articles say that 4-H will get the proceeds?

  18. Amy C.. on February 29th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Someone please help these children…Land like this is prime its not right to take it from the children. It should be up to the children. maybe you have to truley understand how the feeling of freedom and peace on so much land as a child is its like nothing else. But of course this land is Beulah and the county could care less about things out this way. If this land is sold PLEASE REMEMBER NEXT TIME YOU DONATE TO ESCAMBIA COUNTY THAT IT WILL NOT BE USED WHAT MENT FOR AS LONG AS GREED IS HERE>

  19. Sandra on February 29th, 2012 5:44 pm

    Molino Jim hit the nail on the head! The Bayer property would give the kids more property and buildings with the added benefit of having alot of spending cash left over after the sale. It is more centrally located so that with fuel prices as they are the kids and their parents are not spending an arm and a leg traveling to nine mile road.

  20. JEEPERMAN on February 29th, 2012 4:59 pm

    Scott,
    You are wrong.
    Escambia County does NOT own the 240 acres.
    4H owns that land.
    4H also owned the 70 acres that NFCU now occupies as that portion was sold off to create an office park back in 2000-2001.
    The proceeds of that sale went into a trust fund to pay for operations of the remaining 240 acres.
    The Escambia County BOCC are trustees acting on the behalf of the 4H.
    This county involvement came about years ago because there were not enough active adults in 4H willing to take on the task.

  21. Gerald Lamb on February 29th, 2012 3:21 pm

    I received an Email from Kay Brown. There are two meetings planned for 4-H YOUTH WITH THE SECOND MEETING BEING MARCH 12. You will choose 2 voting delegates and vote on the sale March 12. Choose wisely. Insure your chosen delegate will not change their vote. You only have 2 weeks to build opposition to the sale proposal. Be deligent and remain strong.
    With a written agreement to build a better center in middle or upper Escambia I think, while I will miss LBC, it might become a viable option. Put all promises in writing. Insure that in the future the sale of new property will not pop its ugly head again. NO to Stefani Road 23 acres!
    The sale price in my opinion is too low. I have told Pam Allen that 10M is a better figure and no 23 acres either.
    My Cottage Hill sister has done the same. We remain on your side. Again I am proud of your stance!

  22. Scott on February 29th, 2012 3:00 pm

    Guys, guys, guys…

    4H does not own the land, the county does. There will be no trust fund, 4H will not get the cash.

    So who gets the money? Escambia County commissioners, who are the same folks tasked with looking out for the best interests of the 4H kids.

    So what does 4H get out of the deal? They get moved from a wonderful, 240 acre facility that meets their needs to a 23 acre parcel that the county already owns.

  23. molino jim on February 29th, 2012 2:56 pm

    @ Gus—the old WinnDixie store building is the property of the Moulton family and they would like for some one to be in the building. BUT they are hard to deal with on price per sq. foot rental fees. I do not believe that NFCU was the company using the building before. There was a phone bank operation that was doing collections on bad debts.

  24. molino jim on February 29th, 2012 1:08 pm

    For what ever it’s worth my personal feeling is that it should be sold. My daughter was a member of 4-H and still works with animals. There are large blocks of property west of H’way 29 and north of Cantonment that could be bought for less money than is being offered and the balance placed in a trust to provide income for what ever would be needed later. There is the Bayer Ag. Property that runs between Crabtree and 97 for sell. This is 250 ac. with five large building plus a pond and irrigation system in place. Asking price $ 2,100,000. This is only one large section that could be bought with the money. As to NFCU bring in people from out of town so be it. Those people would need a place to live(read home sells), places to buy food and what ever else. It is my understanding at the present time appx. 80 ac. max are being used by 4-H at their current location. The sell could be a win–win deal for every one. I’m not sure I feel that the kids who grow up and have to move away would benefit by keeping the property. Companies can move if they have to– look at what happen in Santa Rosa county a few months ago.

  25. LARRY on February 29th, 2012 12:26 pm

    Dear Amazed,

    The land belongs to the 4-H. Not the county or you! This used to be a free country.

  26. LARRY on February 29th, 2012 12:08 pm

    This smells a lot like W.D. Childers and all the other “good old boys” of the past. These kids are about to get hosed. This used to be a free country.

  27. support JOBS on February 29th, 2012 12:08 pm

    SUPPORT JOBS….

    I understand the concern here with the kids but these kids will be adult in less the 10 years LOOKING for a job not a after school activity…. NFCU is planning to employee over 400 people.. PLEASE understand our community needs these jobs….The money that is made needs to purchase a BIGGER and BETTER 4-H club.. I was also a member of 4-H member and it hurts my heart to see this, but I also know there are things 4-H board members would love to change and make better. Move to the country and have more land and more opportunity to learn the truth of being a 4-H club member.. If this was donated, this means GIVIN away so thank you Bell family . If agreed to sell this land I would want it clear that the county buy and better spot for the 4-H club and it to have share holders and this to be done in a year time frame..
    It is not about these kids and I wish this would be CLAER but our country is in a hardship for jobs and PENSACOLA has a company that is welling to supply 400 jobs and pay for the land. Win Win deal for all because the money can buy BETTER…

  28. gus on February 29th, 2012 11:48 am

    NF was using the old Winn Dixie building in Cantonment, why can’t they still use that building? It’s not like someone has to get in a car to deliever a message, everything is done over the computer, type it and hit send, or pick up the phone. There is so many large building left vacant because some business closed down, why can’t they look into using those buildings. Use what buildings we have before to start building new stuff and the other building are still vacant. What land we have left is all the land we will ever have!

  29. gus on February 29th, 2012 11:43 am

    The land was donated, the county did not buy it. Was is the county even getting the money if the land is sold? Shouldn’t that money be given to the Bell family? Mr. Bell donated the land for the purpose of the 4-H. Now that the land isn’t going to be used for that purpose it was donated, the Bell family should get the money not the county, the county never paid for the paid in the first place….just saying

  30. Melissa on February 29th, 2012 11:04 am

    Escambia County and Navy Federal are asking these kids to give up 240 acres for 23 acres?! Let Navy Federal find somewhere else to build – maybe hwy 29. Prime vacant land all up and down car city. Navy Federal knew when they originally built their offices that the 4-H club was next door. This land was DONATED by the Bell family for the purpose of 4-H. Leave the land and these kids alone.

  31. David Huie Green on February 29th, 2012 9:25 am

    A reasonable counter proposal would be to ask for twice as much acreage within say ten miles of the existing site and replacement of any structures lost along with some cash for incidentals.

    I noticed in the paper today the editorial saying the sale should go forward because of the crisis of the moment. That implies it might not be a good idea if the economy were better than it is today. That implies the support might not be there were it not for this temporary situation.

    This would allow it to go forward while looking to the future, not the latest problem. There is no end to crises; they will keep coming and being solved right up to the one which kills us all.

    David considering long view

  32. Gerald Lamb on February 29th, 2012 9:20 am

    Eve was in the garden of Eden. The sly sneaky snake came along. He charmed Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, then departed having completed his task.
    Know your snakes and be leary of the candy man bringing news too good to be true.

    Mushroom farmers grow their mushrooms in the dark,feeding them manure.
    4-H ers, dont let this sale happen. Be wise. Check what you are being told . Insure accuracy. Ask questions, be skeptical.Your mom and dad can help. Know that what you are told is for your benefit and not someone trying to push through an agenda. I have made many calls from Nebraska on your behalf. I am extremely proud of you standing up to the plate. Keep up the good fight.
    Former Escambia County 4-Her, now in Nebraska Nebraska.

  33. Dee on February 29th, 2012 8:19 am

    I am sooooo totally against the sale of the Matt Langley Bell 4-H Center. I have three daughters who went 4-Hers and FFA. They had some wonderful times and we still do support 4-H. Once a 4-Her also a 4-Her……..the youngest left 4-H in 2004.

    I am not going to repeat the wonderful things so many have stated, Kay and Justin, plus others have stated how I feel about the sale of a wonderful place for adults, children, and wild life. Once you destroy a habitat you cannot bring the wild life back!!!!!!

    Another thing 20+ vs 240……. rural vs resident

    Find another place NFCU. Those who agree with the sale of the land have never been in 4-H or FFA or children in these programs.

    Remember county commissioners November is around the corner!!!!

  34. Kathy on February 29th, 2012 8:19 am

    I don’t think Navy federal is a bad guy, what I do think is that land was dedicated to the 4-H kids. Navy Federal is located primarily in Virginia. When the tax cuts end in Fla. will they move to Texas? We don’t know, what we do know is 4-H should always be here. Somethings should remain sacred, that land won’t come back for the 4-H. Some things should out weight business, jobs and corporate enterprise. We need to have a set of core values, and the land should be valued for what it was intended.

  35. Jane on February 29th, 2012 7:37 am

    Any lawyers out there want to take this on for the kids?

  36. Jane on February 29th, 2012 7:36 am

    Will someone explain to me why if the land was donated for a specific purpose, it is legal for the County to sell it to a business and force the children onto some small piece of property? This doesn’t seem right at all.

  37. Kay Campbell on February 29th, 2012 7:27 am

    It is a sad day when you donate land for a purpose and the leaders of our county decide to sell it . The 4H land was donated by the Bell family for the use of the children for 4H, not for a credit union. It dosen’t matter how many jobs it brings in. THAT IS DONATED LAND. Look at the results of Brosnaham (10 mile Rd) it was donated by the Brosnaham family. It had a horse arena , ball fields , ect. and the county decided to turn it into a soccer complex. They moved the horse arena to the Equestrian Center, where rent went from $50.00 for the Brosnaham arena to $400.00 for the new covered arena. Pushing out the small local clubs that cannot afford that expense. So we will push out the children of 4H who have 240 acres of rural land and put them into a residential district on 20 acres?? What genius came up with this plan and how much are they making on this shady deal? It makes one think twice before donating ANY property to Escambia County. If you want the children to even consider this, it has to be a apple for apple trade. Not 240 acres for 20 acres , that is a joke. Leave the 4H center where it is, on land that was DONATED for that purpose!!

  38. Jane on February 29th, 2012 4:34 am

    I don’t think selling the land to NFCU was what the person who put this facility there had in mind. It was meant to benefit the children in our community, who are our hope for the future. Let NFCU buy some land somewhere else in the north end of the county. They can obviously afford it!

  39. Phillip Robbins on February 28th, 2012 10:47 pm

    Do we all see this for what it really is ? Is this not a business deal ? Who has the most to gain for this land deal ? The developer and construction company`s have the most to gain. We have forgotten that Milestone was once a helicopter landing field. If we take the 4 – H property for the credit union this leaves the helicopter field next to NFCU open for development. What happens to the excess land at the 4-H club? Will it not be avaliable for later sale. Follow the money and we will see who is truley behind the push for the sale.
    This land was set aside for the development of our children. At what cost do we choose not to follow a program that was set up for the children by a foward thinking humanitarian of this county. In the end do we as a community not support a successful program ? After the deal has been settled will the children and this long term program be better for it. We all have to keep in mind that NFCU is a for profit business. Will Escambia County be better after this deal has been struck?

  40. Gerald Lamb on February 28th, 2012 10:45 pm

    To finish up, Pam Allen and the County Commissioners will depart their positions sooner, hopefully sooner, or later as have so many others. What a legacy to be the ones that sold the LBC and once sold it is gone forever1The next extension agent might not get the chance to get some of the restrictions removed and take the LBC back to what and how it could be utilized fo ALL youth of Escambia County! I dont feel that Escambia 4-H is dead, a renewed vision is what it really needs. Got plenty to say but nuff said!

  41. Gerald Lamb on February 28th, 2012 10:32 pm

    I have been watching this “land grab” since it was concocted. I am in Nebraska. I grew up in Cottage Hill. President of Cottage Hill 4-H,until I left for college and USAF.I spent every summer of my youth @ LBC, Camp Timpoochee, UF, Gainsville and Pensacola, Tallahassee and Tampa Fairs. 4-H was a place to develop and grow. I dont think all of you commenting on the need to sale the LBC have any right to Criticize or comment on Kids vs,. adults making decisions on this land. Have any of you ever participated in 4-H activities or even gone to the LBC. I am still knowledgeable of politics and good ole boy networks in Escambia county. I know land in and around LBC that has sold for 50,000 per acre. NFCU is not even close to the monetary value of that land. The land has more value than money! IAM AGAINST THE SALE,AT ANY Price! I have personally talked with Pam Allen, Debbie Calder, John Scott, David Timberlake, Jimmy Cunningham, Kevin White, Dorthy Gindl Casey and others.I have expressed my concerns. I have been waiting to see opposition to this sale and was disturbed that the opp[osition is not being reported by PNJ and North Escambia . Seems that too many greedy hands are involved,.
    !. Why is Chamber of Commerce involved? Why is their attorney being paid to support this land grab? I dont think the kids are fooled! Why is Extension Office so set on selling,Explain Pam! From what i have gathered, the LBC is a burden to Extension office and Florida Ext. Service. SHAME! I am proud to finally hear Escambia 4-H ers waking up to the fact that The land grab scheme needs stopped.
    While NFCU is in general terms using “NAVY” in their name to origionally support Navy military and since the Navy does benefit from their business through happy sailors, then let the Navy get off their high horse and sale NFCU unutilized helicopter land. It is a win win for them too.Debbie Calder has told me that the helicopter land would be their first choice-less wetlands and less development costs. LBC has 88 acres of unusable wetlands that will not be allowed to develop. Also LBC is pristine land for wildlife and timber management .Dont let it be destroyed! Keep up the Good Fight 4-H! An alumni is watching in Nebraska!

  42. scooby on February 28th, 2012 9:47 pm

    boo cheat how? It’s not Navy Federal’s fault. Boo and Cheat your own local government.

  43. Jimbo on February 28th, 2012 9:20 pm

    Kevin White
    Gene Valentino
    Grover Robinson
    Wilson Robertson
    Marie Young

    We the people are watching very closely in this matter. 21 Acres? for 240acres.
    Bool Cheat!

  44. Seth on February 28th, 2012 8:44 pm

    Who owns the land north of I10 but south of Devine Farms rd? That looks like an equal plot of land according to google maps. Has anyone asked if that was for sale for the 4-H to use?

  45. Pattie on February 28th, 2012 8:03 pm

    I’m confused as to why people think that Navy Federal is the bad guy here. Did they not bring hundreds of jobs to Pensacola? Do they not pay well above minimum wage? Don’t they give annual performance bonuses and Christmas bonuses to their employees? (Way more than a $50 walmart gift card btw) Didn’t they come forth and promise that our military would not miss a paycheck by promising 0% interest loans when the government threatened to shut down?(They are also not affiliated with the Navy or any other military branch) Have they ever had to lay anyone off? (the answer is no). It was my understanding that they would let the 4-H use the land until they started to build on the land. How is it that they are the bad people? Now, I think the real issue shouldn’t be whether they should buy the land. It should be how can we make an equal or better learning environment for our 4-H children. If the land was donated for the Stefanie Rd facility why is escambia county only spending $1.5 million on a new facility? Just curious to where the other $2.1 is going? Why can’t they acquire more land than that if that is what people are saying the kids need? I agree the 4-H program is important so why can’t it be a win win for everyone. Looks like Escambia County needs to fix this. Don’t blame Navy Federal. We need them in Escambia!

  46. 429SCJ on February 28th, 2012 6:30 pm

    I want to vomit every time I see this. This land was donated for a purpose, and that was for the children of Escambia County. These people complaining about jobs should take a look at their education and training records and get up off their butt, go out into this world and do something for themselves. I left here for nearly 22 years so I could provide for myself. This is a bad thing, to destroy this beautiful place, for a bait and switch. USE FEDERAL LAND.

  47. Justin Hall on February 28th, 2012 6:22 pm

    Dear supporters of the Navy Federal purchase,

    I would like to provide some insite into the reason that so many are agaist the purchase of this land.

    The 4-H and FFA chapters that uses the Langly Bell 4-H Center would be loosing many a great opportunity if this land is sold to Navy Federal. The main goal of the 4-H and the FFA is to provide its members with a strong understanding of the agriculture industry, business managment, record keeping, moral development, and finances.

    FFA and 4-H strive to instill in all their members the importance of land conservanion and using resources wisly. The reason the center is not further developed than it currently is happens to be by design, The center serves as a place of learning for the forestry and conservation industry. While the 23 acres in question may seem like a large amount it will infact inhibit the learning of our students and the development of this land will cause severe impacts on the wildlife in the area.

    The Langly Bell woods are a main habitat for many species in the area and many will be displaced by the construction.

    No one in our county doubts the good that the jobs Navy Federal will bring to the area would not help our growth. However, with this vital resource in the education of our youth in the agriculture industry lost the results could be disasterous.

    If the youth that make up the future of our industry loose this place, our agriculture industry in the area and in the state of Florida could be forever changed for the worst.

    I have not problem with people having a differnet oppinion that me; however I encourage each of you to research the orginisations that will be effected by this sale and to find out what they stand for. If you have any questions about these wonderful groups please do not hesitate to ask me at jrhffa@yahoo.com.

    Thank You,

    Justin Hall
    West Florida High School FFA President
    Sub-District 1 FFA Chairman of Florida
    District 1 FFA Secretary of Florida

  48. Ben Thar on February 28th, 2012 5:11 pm

    If I understand correctly, 4H doesn’t own the land, the county does. The county was given the land with restrictions on it, which it no longer wishes to honor.

    So, if the land sells for $3.6 million, does it mean that 4H gets it, or that the county gets it? It sort of sounds like the county gets the money and that 4H gets whatever the county decides it gets, in this case 20 acres.

    And they might have gotten away with it if not for you pesky kids.

  49. Patients on February 28th, 2012 4:55 pm

    I challenge all of you readers to come out in April to the livestock show and watch and see what the 4H children participate in. These children spend months getting livestock ready to show. They spend hours working and training. They keep records – practice leadership.
    The Bells donated this land for a cause. The 4H and the children who participate in its programs– keeping children active and outdoors– involved in something that would benefit their lives and futures. The land and buildings– the cabins all are a part of History for the Matt Langley Bell 4H and can you really put a price on this ? He invested in the lives of children and look at the return. My grandson who is now 24 participated in this program and was able to secure a college education. I have grandchildren now who participate yearly and will be afforded the same pleasure because of this center and its livestock program.
    I understand the economy is bad and we should make consideration to things that would improve it but in the society of which we live today a childs interest and future is a high price to pay. Again– I suggest you come out and watch and see for yourself just exactly what all goes on here.

    If Navy Federal does secure this purchase — what will happen to the wet lands at lake area? I for one would like to know that because we hold all of our residential properties to strict ordinances????

  50. whatthehay on February 28th, 2012 3:56 pm

    Why can’t the Navy Federal use the Federal land already in exsistance to the west? AKA helicopter field?

  51. this is an adult decision on February 28th, 2012 2:40 pm

    @Jamie Hall Navy Federal is the largest credit union in the world for a reason and its because of their low fees, also being a credit union it is owned by its members and would lose so many for raising the cost of membership. How would you feel if you bank started hiking fees and rates without warning? We saw how well thant went over for bank of america and their card fees. This decision is being left up to children who don’t understand the economical benefits. Apparently half the people posting here don’t either 23 acres is a lot of land and with all that money they could probably do more and greater things. This program has 300 some odd members where as Navy Federal could affect thousands of people.

  52. Jimbo on February 28th, 2012 2:16 pm

    Let me tell you something “Amazed”. Mr. Bell did’nt donate this land to a cause with the idea that it could be “sold” by this group or the trustees of this group. NF’s decision to move forward with this project should’nt depend on them taking this property regardless of the dollar amount. I can say this, it the TRUSTEES,
    Wilson Robinson, Kevin White, Gene Valentino, Marie Young, and Grover Robinson, you folks better dig deep, look into a mirror and take stock of what you see. If you vote for this crappy deal, you should all be run out of town on a RAIL. You better take a long look at what is and what is not yours to sell. Or, I guess you could just see how low you can go.

  53. AL on February 28th, 2012 11:53 am

    I think this is a prime time for youth to learn priorities. There is the land offer on Stefani, the unused Equestrian Center and the fairgrounds. Navy Fed adds hundreds of local jobs every year (yes, local – not India or Indiana ) at well above minimum wage with excellent benefits.
    It won’t be an easy decision and if it IS an easy decision, someone isn’t really putting much thought into it.

  54. Jamie Hall on February 28th, 2012 11:20 am

    Directly from the NFCU website “Since 1933, Navy Federal has grown from seven members to over 3 million members” and under that they say we have 3,867,127 members.

    I say just charge every member another dollar in membership fee’s, atm charges, something one time over the next year and BOOM, they then have enough money to DOUBLE the existing offer.

    THEN IT IS A WIN-WIN FOR ALL INVOLVED.

    I truly feel for the county commisioners to vote in the BEST INTEREST of the 4-H’ers as trustees they have to vote yes on the matter when they feel that they will be held liable for not accepting a great offer. And I dont feel we are there yet.

    Look, 4-H owns the “lakehouse”, it is paid for, yes there are some upkeep cost. It may not be used to its fullest potential, it may be a little run down, but it is there anytime they want to use it. And it is PAID for. Now their neighbor wants their lakehouse to make a waterpark. At some point the financial offers for the lakehouse reach an amount that hey you know what, I can go build another, larger, brand new “lakehouse” just like I have always dreamed of somewhere else, it would still be my lakehouse and I would have a large financial sum in a bank account to cover all the upkeep and provide for my children and all others to enjoy that new lakehouse for many years to come.

    AND I DONT THINK WE ARE THERE YET!!!!

    I dont think anyone who has there house paid off and are getting by would just up right sell there house because it would help bring new jobs to the county. Without getting the absolute most for it.

  55. Former 4H'er on February 28th, 2012 11:07 am

    I was a 4H’er and to all of you people objecting to leaving the decision in the children’s hands, these children are responsible, ans more than capable of making the right decision. they might not have bills to pay or a family to raise, but they know responsibility. Take it from someone who has gone through 4H and knows. Without the program, I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today. Building a new center wouldn’t be the same. The 4H’ers wouldn’t be able to have the livestock shows at the extension office location. If that part of the program is taken away, a lot of 4H’ers won’t know the responsibility of raising the animals. I know some of you will argue that a dog, or a cat will give them that responsibility, but its not the same. Getting up almost an hour early every morning to feed a cow or a pig is not the same as pouring food in a bowl as you run out of the door for school. It was important life I, as well as many kids need to learn. so think about what these kids are going through when you say it’s crazy to put this decision in their hands. The Langley Bell Center means a lot to these kids.

  56. Gail on February 28th, 2012 10:42 am

    I think Navy Federal should just purchases half the land they want so they can finish building their “circle” of buildings, its mostly forest and appears not to be cleared out for use by 4-H anyway.

    If Navy Federal does get the full amount of land.

    A) Another facility will be built. If they have a event that is too large to host on the new campus…they can always have it on the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds, since its already set to host Farming and Agriculture shows.

    B) Even if it takes a decade to add over 1,000 jobs those children will be 18-28 and will appreciate the fact that their decision to sell will have helped the local economy thrive. Some of the older ones may end up going into finance, maybe even at Navy Federal.

    C) Pensacola needs to get out of the “Minimum Wage Slave” mentality. $7.65/hr part-time ($612/mo) is barely enough to support an individual, but many have children to support as well and thats just not enough. However $13/hr full time to start at a finance job ($2080/mo) can definatly support a family, and if they are really good what they do they realistially they can make $18/hr ($2,228). That money definately comes back into the community where the workers live and spend.

    D) The future of our child is very important, that include opening up the employment market for thier parents so they have a chance at a future, and not a life being treated always struggling and having to stand in the DCF line.

    F) With Navy Federal expansion, more businesses in Northern Escambia will be bulit, maybe even a small hospital, to help meet the new needs. Guest what NoEsc residents…that means jobs for you too! No more having to worry about how your going to get to Pensacola, or how much gas its costing you to go to work. Live locally, work locally, shop locally.

    I think its a win for every one involved.

  57. me on February 28th, 2012 9:58 am

    wrenchman,
    I’m on your side – but unfortunitely, the trustees are the “currently sitting” County Commissioners, who can be voted out, but not until election time of course! And interestingly enough the District 5 Commissioner has already dropped out of the next election.

  58. c.w. on February 28th, 2012 9:52 am

    This land was donated to the 4-H club for their use in 1943. They have cared for it very well for all these years. Now someone wonts to “steal” it from them. If the credit union wonts to build, go up. There is a lot of space there.
    I read that someone thinks 8 year olds should not be allowed to vote wheather to sell their property or not. If an 8 year old buys something, they pay taxes just like everyone else. It seems that the kids are smarter than some wish they were.
    The land is theirs. Leave them alone.

  59. Scott on February 28th, 2012 9:46 am

    The thing that does not make sense to me is that 4H can’t buy 240 acres of usable land somewhere else for $3.6 million. Why does it have to be this particular 23 acre parcel?

  60. wrenchman on February 28th, 2012 9:00 am

    people think where your food comes from.( o i get from the store). well dummy where do you think they get it from. people that grew up in 4h or ffa that is farming right now. the new building the county wants to build has nothing to do with animals,livestock or anything thing. they want the building for office space and computers for the kids. ya tell me how to raise your next steak on a computer. KIDS DONT LET PEOPLE SARCE YOU INTO SOMETHING YA KNOW AINT RIGHT. KEEP THAT LAND. IF IT IS SOLD THEN YA CAN SAY GOODBY TO 4H AND FFA BECAUSE THAT WILL BE NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STILL STRONG KIDS THE BATTLE AINT OVER YET. YOU HAVE MY SUPPORT ALL THE WAY.. for everybody info acording to the deed and by-laws the kids can kick the trustees out at anytime and over turn the trustees……. THE HELL WITH NAVY FEDERAL!!!!!! JUST SAYING

  61. Meridith on February 28th, 2012 8:53 am

    What about the hundreds of acres that are on the other side of Navy Federal? I’m not sure who owns the land but I would be curious to know if this is an option. I’m just not sure what they see in the rural land for putting buildings on. As for those of you that only think this is benefiting a few kids… remember these “few kids” that have gone through the 4-H center and FFA programs throughout our county next time you want to eat. Don’t forget where we would all be without farmers… NAKED & HUNGRY! I personally feel sorry for those of you who simply don’t understand these programs and all the benefits they have for children of all ages. The opportunities they give in the REAL world are endless. You are truly the deprived ones… I wouldn’t trade my years in FFA for anything in this world and it helped shape me into the successful person I am today.

  62. ceryl on February 28th, 2012 8:40 am

    DON’T SELL !!!! 4-H needs land they aren’t making any more land these days,hang on to it 4-Hers go some where else NF

  63. aam on February 28th, 2012 8:35 am

    I think that the 4H parents need to teach compromise also. You cannot tell me that adding that many jobs to Escambia county is not a good thing. Getting above appraisal value ect come on folks lets do what is right for the entire county.

  64. Walnut Hill Roy on February 28th, 2012 8:04 am

    Why is it the whole 240 acres or nothing, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Let Planning & Zoning make a special exceptionand sell them the 40 or 50 acres that they need. 240 acres is a very large parcel. Determine what they need and go from there.

  65. Fairlane63 on February 28th, 2012 7:50 am

    240 acres of rural land in exchange for 23 in a residential area? I think the 4-H kids rightly see that this is a pretty bad deal for them. However, anyone who actually believes that the County and Navy Federal will be deterred by how the 4-H council votes is naive to say the least. This land WILL be taken from the 4-H one way or another– when this much money is at stake, issues like “right” and “wrong” usually go right out the window.

    Remind me to never donate land to the county…

  66. Really? on February 28th, 2012 7:46 am

    So you all would rather have a couple dozen kids use this 240 acres vs Escambia County (A county with a very high unemployment rate) adding hundreds of jobs? You are so right lets leave this up to children who aren’t worried about getting a job to feed their families makes sense to me. We aren’t talking about a company coming in and offering a few jobs and paying minimum wage without benefits, we are talking about a Fortune 500 best 100 companies to work for. We are talking wonderful jobs with great pay (especially for this area) and fabulous benefits. A company who cares as much about its employees growth as it does its own giving everyone the opportunities to achieve what they wish even if it isn’t with them. This is also a company that has never once had layoffs and hired when the economy went south and has never needed a bail out. So lets start thinking about Escambia County and our future and let the adults decide this not the kids who don’t worry about bills and feeding their families.

  67. Kathy on February 28th, 2012 7:25 am

    “Out of the mouths of babes”!

  68. idunno on February 28th, 2012 7:18 am

    Just another example of big folks walking over little folks. Communism at work again. Let Navy Fed buy some of the land Champion owns. It doesn’t have to be that close to the land they (NF) already own. I say let Dr. Bells family tell NF what to do with their proposal.

  69. Daniel on February 28th, 2012 7:16 am

    I dont thank they should sell the land to navy federal, Its the worst idea ever. Everyone complains about the youth today not wanting to get out and do thangs. that all they want to do is sit at home and watch tv or play video games. By taking this facility away from them and only giveing them 23 acres for the 240, its crazy. Well here is an idea, Tell them you want double there offer, plus 400 acres to replace the land that they have already, and have them pay for the new trails,cabines, ect. That would be a fair offer.

  70. 429SCJ on February 28th, 2012 6:35 am

    When Dr. Bell presented this property to the people of Escambia County, he had no idea this would have happened. Im sure if he had wanted it sold he would have contacted a realtor himself. People I would think about this before I donated anything to the County in the future. These outsiders do not have our interest at heart. There is a lesson here, and a bitter one.

  71. Straight Shooter on February 28th, 2012 6:11 am

    This offer should be turned down. 4-H has something it has had since 1943, given for them to use. To accept an offer like this would be insane. Navy Federal took part already and they want more. N.F. can go find some more land or, buy
    4-H 240 acres to replace this with. It’s not so much the deal, N.F. wants the land, but, the county wants to give 4-H, 23 acres to replace 240 acres. The setting for 4-H in its location is great and on Stefani Road would be a problem. I can hear the complaints now about the smell of cows and noise ect…in a Residential Area.
    Only the county could get away with moving this into a residential area.

    Also, don’t be fooled by what you read in the paper Navy Federal will not create all these jobs or from local workforce.

  72. Amazed on February 28th, 2012 5:12 am

    Ridiculous! 240 Acres of prime property that could be used for job growth in the hands of kids who don’t have bills to pay and families to raise! I am sorry but thats insanity at its best!





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