UF Dean Makes Recomendation On Future Of Escambia 4-H

July 18, 2013

University of Florida/IFAS Extension Dean Nick Place has made his recommendation concerning the future of 4-H in Escambia County at a Thursday morning meeting of the Escambia County Committee of the Whole.

He accepted three recommendations from an advisory committee concerning property to replace the Langley Bell 4-H Center that was sold to Navy Federal:

Cottage Hill State Forest, Cottage Hill. About 31 acres; the state is willing to deed the property to Escambia County. Site would support environmental and horticultural sciences, outdoor education, forestry and other 4-H activities. Currently has horse trails.

Escambia County Equestrian Center, Mobile Highway. Owned by Escambia County, includes 151 acres. Not currently equipped to handle any livestock except horses. A memorandum of understanding would ensure the 4-H could use the facility for animal shows.

Privately Owned Land. The Barrineau Park 4-H and the Livestock 4-H currently use the facilities of private landowners for livestock. By recruiting other members of the agriculture community, more sites could be developed with leases and grants to provide opportunities for 4-H club members to have off-site raising facilities.

Place also recommended that most of the $1.6 million from the Navy Federal sale proceeds that was to have purchased land instead by given to the 4-H Foundation for use only in Escambia County.

District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry expressed his displeasure in the recommendations, saying that it was not fair and equitable because 4-H sold 240 acres and did not receive something comparable in return. Commissioner Wilson Robertson also agreed, saying the 4-H’er had been promised comparable property.

A non-binding vote by commissioners in the Committee of the Whole meeting was 3-2 against accepting Place’s plan. What happens next in the process was not immediately clear. With the vote Thursday, the county’s can’t accept the proposals. A memorandum of understanding gave Place the final decision, but Escambia County must accept the Cottage Hill Forest from the state, and the Equestrian Center belongs to the county.


30 Responses to “UF Dean Makes Recomendation On Future Of Escambia 4-H”

  1. Jimmy Cunningham on July 21st, 2013 3:00 pm

    The 4-H Kids has 3.3 million in a endowment account at the University of Florida and another 250K money market account that they use the interest from for operations. The county commissioners set aside 1.6 million for purchase of property from the last sale to Navy Federal. This is in addition to 1.5 million in Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) to construct a building at the Extension Center. The 4H Kids deserve more than a 31 acre wooded area and a possible date to conduct the Spring Livestock Show at the Equestrian Center. The third leg of the deans proposal was to work with local land owners to provide facilities for the feeding and growing of livestock. My Question is why would they need to accept the liability on their property for these kids.

    It has been very obvious over the last few years that Mrs. Allen is so afraid of liability issues that the Langley Bell Center has been under used. If extension is willing to rent a producers property for the kids livestock projects are they willing to purchase the necessary liability insurance? I think not.

    The legislature delegation from this county, the county commissioners and all agriculture organizations all support the kids using THEIR MONEY to purchase property to replace the Langley Bell Center.


  2. 4-H member on July 21st, 2013 1:59 am

    The Bayer property should be what we buy. It is one a turn key operation. We would extra money to make show rings, stalls & everything else. We were promised a comparable property. The only place that is comparable is the Bayer property.

  3. MargieLu on July 19th, 2013 7:40 pm

    I’m with Packy Mitchell and the fair-minded folks who kept the county commission from continuing to do wrong by these children. If our county leaders will try to cheat children and break promises ( an oral contract in Florida is a legal contract, BTW), what new lows will they stoop to with other issues? They can’t get much lower than this, IMHO.

  4. david lamb on July 19th, 2013 5:59 pm

    Preach it, sister! Well said. Stand your ground!

  5. 4-H leader and MOM on July 19th, 2013 1:59 pm

    Let me start by saying that I have been close to this situation in several ways. I have 3 kids in 4H in Escambia County. 2 of which participated in this so called “vote”. I am also a club leader. And I served one of the committe’s formed in regards to this sale of this property. So yeah I guess you can say that I was involved a little.
    Too “unreal’ – not sure where you come out of the wood work with your comments but you should just crawl back in.
    These kids have been done such an unjustice in this whole process and been lied to SO MANY times along the way. The sad part is A LOT of these kids that were involved in this process are very intelligent and asked very intelligent questions of everyone involved including Mrs. Allen. And these children were bold face lied too.
    this whole process has not been a very good example set for our children as to how toconduct business and keep your word. Our children did their part and kept their word. But not on the other side.
    NOTHING that has been proposed has been comprable to what the kids had previously.
    If the county wants a new buildign at Stefani let the county fund it-NOT OUR CHILDREN!!!
    OUR CHILDREN deserve to be put back whole again.
    As for the money from the sell of the first acrage sold to Navy Federal that too was put in a funf to only be used for Escambia County…. hhhmmm that deal also involved Mrs. Allen, OH and the attorney that represented the kids on this most current deal ( represented the opposing side last deal) And the CC that were on the board during the last sale – oh yeah check them out… they were brought up on charges for money issues for the sportsplex on Ninemile road…. HHHHMMMM all this smells all a little to familiar…. and there are several of the same players…. coiencidence… I THINK NOT>>>>>

  6. david lamb on July 19th, 2013 1:24 pm

    The IFAS person whose name I forgot is Ruth Milton. Look her up in Florida 4H Hall of Fame. There is some great insite of what 4H leaders and staff should be imulating today!

  7. Kay Campbell on July 19th, 2013 10:35 am

    I want to thank the County Commissioners for NOT accepting Mr. Place’s recommendation. Those kids were promised COMPARABLE property in no way is any of these properties comparable. The Bayer property in Molino is the ONLY comparable property. Please stand your ground…..don’t let these kids get beat out of what Mr. Bell left for the 4-H. Theses kids made grown up decisions for the good of Escambia County,
    don’t you think we owe them the same courtesy. You gave them your word……..

  8. david lamb on July 19th, 2013 10:09 am

    Some GREAT POSTS! Thank you William for the article and allowing feelings to be heard! Now if Pam ,Nick, and Jack Payne would just heed these warnings. WE are not going away! We want a revitalized Escambia 4H like the program was when Edwina Robinson, Narvo Stevens and J Lowell Loadholtz were at Escambia extension! State IFAS people like Woodrow Brown ,Ruth(forgot her last name) and Gordon White, who cared about 4H kids state wide! these people didnt know what a 40 holur week was!
    @ unreal: Place offered a cop out solution with the least effort for IFAS . They are into keeping the Escambia 4H money!
    @ melodies for us: you seem to nopt know the infrastructure. The US Congress put 4H under land grant colleges to “manage” its assets. CC is a watch dog and did the right thing. IF IFAS would come down off its pedestal there are several properties, that are offered that would be fine, One near Frans diner, One along Perdido river and !st choice Bayer! Need IFAS to cooperate. Pam Allen will not be there forever and next agent might have COMMITMENT TO THE KIDS!

  9. Packy Mitchell on July 19th, 2013 9:09 am

    Congrats to CC for not agreeing with this. When these kids voted to sell the property at the Langley Bell Center, they were promised a comparable piece of property. The real concern is that Pam Allen may have to leave her little nest egg on Stefani Road if she is needed at a new site. However, I really can’t see where she would be needed at all, so instead of just leaving her nest egg, how about she JUST LEAVE… She was the primary reason that some of the previous events and programs at the LB Center were closed and or eliminated causing some to feel that the property was underutilized. We also seem to be forgetting that the sale price to Navy Federal was more like $3.6 mil with $2 mil already set aside in a trust. Where and what does that go for.. This program deserves our local support, not controlled by some Dean from UF…Simple solution. Buy the Bayer Property, it is comparable in size, already has some buildings and structures that would be useful, some portions being leased to farmers, bringing in revenue to take care of maintenance, and certainly in the area to be best served by the young people in our 4-H program…I told the parents and kids all along I would be very vocal in their support. This does not have to be this complicated!!!

  10. well on July 19th, 2013 9:06 am

    Why not have the county withhold the nearly 2 million lost money and buy the bayer property. Let ifas pay for their own building at Stefani.

  11. 4-H Alumni on July 19th, 2013 6:29 am

    Florida…stand your ground state….
    Thank You, CC, for voting against this proposal. None of the properties suggested in Mr. Places recommendations is adequate for the 4-H’s needs. It is a far cry from what was promised, and the kids are being sent up river. WHY have they not been involved in this process after the sale??
    Seems to a rational thinking law-abiding observer that the KIDS used their heads, showed much forethought and WISDOM, thought of the needs of the county, selling a wonderful piece of land with the “promise” of same/better if they sell….
    now, the adults who have gained the $$$’s are now distancing themselves, taking the kids $$$ and being less than honest in their dealings with said kids.
    What a shame.
    4-H….Stand your ground!!

  12. Walnut Hill Roy on July 18th, 2013 10:49 pm

    I was an applicant for the committee, I wanted to be on the committee because I didn’t want to see the kids get screwed like they possibly are now. The woman who is in charge of the local Extension Service and I didn’t necessarily see eye to eye and it was obvious that she was going to run the committee. I felt from the beginning that the Bayer property was the place for them to buy.

    Not being a native Floridian, I originally thought that the 4H was like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and were self sufficient; I was shocked to learn that they were totally under the auspices of the University and were administered by the Extension Service. Several of the Escambia County Extension Service agents (obviously I’m not mentioning names) were worried in the beginning (after the sale of the 4H property) that the kids would end up on the short end of the stick and they may well do so.

    Hats off to the commissioners, I hope that they stand their ground.

  13. melodies4us on July 18th, 2013 10:00 pm

    Ooo, they found a “dean”. This county commission makes me sick. Agriculture is vital. THey don’t even realize that they are ripping off the deceased that donated the club in the first place.

  14. Southerner on July 18th, 2013 9:53 pm

    Never get your hopes too high that a socialistic government will handle their socialistic programs with honesty and integrity.

  15. Ifish4 on July 18th, 2013 9:26 pm

    Well, with the county building the new 4-H facility on Stefani road with tax money, and Nick Place wanting the 4-H kids to take 30 acres of mostly useless land in Cottage Hill, and rent a place (also with tax money) for live stock they won’t need the 1.6 million dollars that was set aside to purchase a new facility and he recommends the money be set aside for use by the 4-H in Escambia county only. Don’t count on it, I’m pretty sure after a few months it will be determined that since Escambia county doesn’t need the money for new building he will find a need for in in central or south Florida and that’s where the money from Navy Federal will actually end up being used.

  16. Jacob on July 18th, 2013 9:12 pm

    I got involved with this over 2 years ago when my wife and I found out we were preganat with our twin girls. The thing I wanted was a better community for my girls to grow up in. I felt and still feel it was in the best interest of our community
    as a whole to sell the Langley Bell 4-H center and I am thankful to have navy federal in our community. I wanted my daughters to have the same opportunity
    I had growing up in 4-h but its apparent now they want have that opportunity without new leadership. I thought the Bayer property had the most infrastructure for the cost and type of activities 4-h is all about. The task force should of been able to issue an RFI (request for information) so properties from realtors and private land owners could of came forward but as it was they were told what land to look at. This was a slap in the face by the university of Florida IFAS. I pray that we can get production agriculture back in 4-H. Let the kids have a voice and decide what they want. Lets get the greedy money hungry people out of it. I hope the commissioners will pull their support for the new 4-h building being built on stefani road with the 1.5 million lost dollars until there is a resolution. I am saddened that the chamber got what they wanted after personally promising me that they would insure the kids were taken care of and that they would get land better than they had before. I want to thank the commissioners for 90 minutes of discussions this morning and for the 3 that voted not to sign off on Dr. Place proposal. I am counting on our state delegation to step up and help Escambia county 4-h.

  17. deeremdw on July 18th, 2013 9:04 pm

    all of you who enjoy your meals every day need to take a minute and reflect on the future of agriculture. it amazes me how folks that are part of a university that is suppose to sponsor the Institute of Food and Science is trying to do away with the teaching the young folks how to continue to produce food for the future. i know i am rambling, but it makes me mad and i don’t even live there right now, but i am in the ag business. we have to produce more than 50% more food in the next several years with the same amount of land and we are trying to cut back on the 4H training.

  18. gulf coast on July 18th, 2013 8:24 pm

    How is what nick place suggested a solution? When do the kids get a chance to voice their wishes. The land belonged to the 4H kids not the bureaucrats that work for extension. The bureaucrats are the caretakers of the property not the owners.

    As a parent of a 4H member i get sick of people with no connection to this program telling me what is best for my child.

    You have yet to see the light, the bureaucrats at extension have learned the pay is the same no matter how little you do to earn it. no property no extra work.

  19. Unreal on July 18th, 2013 7:31 pm

    This man offers a solution and it is still rejected…..I get sick of hearing how these kids are not being treated fairly…….

  20. Debra Gilmore on July 18th, 2013 5:52 pm

    I am so glad that the commissioners made the right decision in rejecting Dr. Place’s recommendation. It is obvious by the recommendation that the main goal of IFAS is to keep the money. The youth were asked to make a difficult adult decision, a decision that would be for the good of our county, and they did. I hope that the two commissioners that voted to accept this recommendation will do more research and realize just how wrong this is for the youth of Escambia County. Shame on you Dr. Place!

  21. david lamb on July 18th, 2013 2:49 pm

    Every email that I sent to Nick Place, and I sent many, warned of a backlash if he didnt listen to the 4Hers, family and friends of Escambia 4H. Seems IFAS has a thick head. their “mission’ is on the wrong path. Someone in IFAS needs to visit with local 4H community and do the right thing!
    Members of “Pam’s team” are departing!
    4hers …. stay strong! You will win!

  22. Jimmy Cunningham on July 18th, 2013 2:08 pm

    I think that the commissioners made the right decision not to accept Dr. Place’s report. The Cottage Hill property is only 31 acres and is very hilly with no road to access the property and the Equestrian Center has never wanted the Youth Livestock Show. The facility is not equipped to show Hogs , Goats and Poultry and would have to be modified for the Youth show. I was a member of the task force and I would like to thank the commissioners that voted not to accept Dr. Place’s report.
    After voting to sell the Langley Bell 4-H Center the youth of Escambia County deserve to have a nice piece of property for animal sciences. environmental studies, horse trails and buildings for clinics like what was available at the Langley Bell Center. 4-H property could be used to teach inter city kids the value of agriculture and to demonstrate where Americas food comes from. It has been very clear from the beginning of the task force meetings that the local legislative delegation and the board of commissioners that they supported the purchase of property to replace land that the youth voted to sell.

    I as a Member of Escambia County Farm Bureau will continue to support the 4-H and FFA organizations that educate the youth about the importance of agriculture in this county, state and nation.

  23. Robert on July 18th, 2013 2:07 pm


    The county is not BUYING anything.

    4-H is not BUYING anything.

    They are REPLACING WHAT THEY SOLD. They voted and agreed to sell it when they were promised similar property would be purchased/replaced with the funds paid by Navy Federal.

    The Bayer property wouldn’t be coming off the tax rolls, it will be REPLACED by the Langley Bell property now owned by Navy Federal. As CITIZEN’S we should insist on a fair accounting by our officials charged with administering this.

    There was originally 400 acres in the Langley Bell property. Some was taken for I-10 right of way and some was sold to NF previously. Where is THAT MONEY?

    There is not $ coming from ANYONE’S budget for this purchase. This money is already there from the sale of LB. The children agreed to sell to help Pensacola and NW Florida and they should be treated fairly. Building them a building on Stefani Rd or letting them use a part of the Equestrian Center, or the 31 acres is NOT FAIR TREATMENT. It is theft, pure and simple.

    Pam Allen and Nick Place should both be ashamed.

  24. c.w. on July 18th, 2013 1:57 pm

    Now the true facts are coming. The 4-H was lied to by who? The CC will do anything, tell anything, screw anybody that will believe them. Escambia Co. has screwed the boys and girls that made the attempt to do the right thing. This is a crying shame!

  25. PBB on July 18th, 2013 1:42 pm

    WHAT A JOKE! I am at a loss for words! Nick Place needs to head his butt back to Gainesville and take Pam Allen with him!

  26. David Huie Green on July 18th, 2013 1:30 pm

    “the 4-H’er had been promised comparable property.”

    Promises given.
    Promises kept?

    I’m not involved but more and more I feel less and less inclined to trust promises from those in government. The 31 acres promise might even be the better deal, just not what they were promised.

    David for wisdom and honesty

  27. Just Saying on July 18th, 2013 12:52 pm

    What happened to the Molino property that was in the initial recommendation. The north end of the county which is the agricultural center of Escambia County Florida seems to be the ideal location. To me it is a no brainer.

  28. taxpayer on July 18th, 2013 12:33 pm

    Well that is good news. Since the county has such a surplus of funds not to take a free cottage hill property from the state they fund ECAT all by themselves and not tack it on to the gas prices. Who are these people making these decisions i thought the goverment was hurting for money. But what do i know, I’m just a TAXPAYER.

  29. Railroaded on July 18th, 2013 12:29 pm

    Chugga Chugga Chugga CHOO CHOO! Conductor Pam did exactly what we all knew she would.

  30. wrenchman on July 18th, 2013 12:13 pm

    come on Barry dont let the kids get screwed

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