Florida Gulf Coast University’s board of trustees has agreed to accept a developer’s 70-million-dollar proposal to build a satellite center in Charlotte County. The vote was nearly unanimous, despite apparent resistance from Charlotte County’s Board of commissioners.
FGCU’s campus in South Lee County is filling up fast, so it wants to branch out. Last week a selection committee unanimously chose a 24-hundred-acre cattle ranch in Northeast Charlotte County, near the Desoto County line, for a satellite campus. But Charlotte County Commissioners also unanimously voted last week…to quote-“strongly discourage” any proposed sites that aren’t in the county’s Urban Service Area…sites like the Hudson Sun-River ranch. FGCU President - Dr. Bill Merwin – says this is just a first step…and if commissioners don’t want this site, all they have to do is vote no. He says any deal this big is bound to encounter some resistance…
“There will be push back, yes. I definitely expect that there’ll be opposition. These are major deals…I mean, if somebody’s willing to donate 70-million dollars worth of land and services and cash to the university you’ve got to recognize that these are huge financial deals, and there are people who are not quite satisfied yet.”
One of those people is FGCU Trustee Lindsay Harrington. The former Charlotte County State Representative tried unsuccessfully to get the board to postpone its decision. He told his fellow trustees he’d received some negative feedback – and thought more time would benefit everyone. President Merwin says Harrington’s move took him by surprise…but he wished dissenting voices had spoken up earlier in the process.
“I guess my point being is that we’ve gone through this fairly elaborate and detailed process…and my question was, where were those people then?”
Harrington was the only board member to vote against accepting the Hudson Sun-River proposal. Worth nearly 70-million-dollars, the offer includes 150-acres of land, 5-million-dollars in cash, and a water and wastewater facility to serve the campus and any nearby development.
Florida Gulf Coast University’s board of trustees voted yesterday to accept a 70-million-dollar package for a satellite center in Charlotte County. Hudson Sun-River’s proposal includes 150-acres in northeast Charlotte County, and a water and wastewater facility to serve the campus and any surrounding development. The approval came in spite of a recent vote by Charlotte County Commissioners to quote-“strongly discourage” any sites outside of the county’s Urban Service Area. FGCU President – Dr. Bill Merwin – says there are still many hurdles…
“We’ve got to go to the Charlotte County Commission and get them to extend their Urban Service Area a little further to the east than what it currently is. I’ve got to get approval from the Board of Governors to get their approval to build a branch campus. And all of those are hurdles, but this is the first step.”
In addition to Charlotte County the project also needs approval from the Florida Department of Community Affairs. The board of trustees decision was nearly unanimous, with only former Charlotte County State Representative Lindsay Harrington dissenting.
Wednesday, 01 November 2006 00:00
FGCU Charlotte CampusWritten by WGCU Newsroom