Friends of the Library meet with county manager

MOORE HAVEN — At a recent Friends of the Library meeting, Glades County Manager Paul Carlisle gave an overview of some of the most recent developments in Glades County. He talked about the new Training Center where trades such as welding, diesel mechanics, plumbing and commercial drivers license (CDL) testing for truck drivers will soon come to fruition. The CDL program is currently in process.

Mr. Carlisle talked about the possibility of development of land around the Love’s Travel Center site. There was some question about whether or not a Distribution Center is still on the table. Mr. Carlisle indicated that there are no viable prospects for a distribution center at the current time, however a Distribution Center is not off the table.

There has been some negotiation with Duda for several sites for industrial development purposes however once again nothing solid has been decided at this time.

Subsequently there was a lengthy discussion about the States approval of medical marijuana. Mr. Carlisle stated that there has been some study of legislation enacted by other communities with regard to medical marijuana and found to be sound. Glades County has already passed legislation specifying limits such as how close to schools, churches, playgrounds etc. that a medical marijuana dispensary may be located. The site where a medical marijuana dispensary may be located will have to be zoned for it and it will have to be zoned commercial.

There was some question about whether or not another bank might be coming to Moore Haven. Due to population decline over recent years, banks, grocery stores and other businesses do not have sufficient patronage to stay in business in Moore Haven possibly due to competition from large outlet stores such as Walmart. Nevertheless there is reason to believe that future development will bring more people to our area. There were questions about the expansion of Dollar General. Apparently this is still in the planning stage and is expected to go forward in the near future.

Next there was some discussion about the forfeiture of land to the Water Management Services for the recent and future construction of reservoirs. It was Mr. Carlisle’s opinion that these reservoirs cannot handle the amount of water coming into Lake Okeechobee from Orlando through the Kissimmee River. There has been some discussion with the Corps of Engineers, Water Management, etc., with regard to the land needed for these reservoirs, however; nothing substantial has been decided at this time.

There was some question about septic tanks and their contribution to the pollution of Lake Okeechobee. Mr. Carlisle indicated that the State is pushing to get septic tanks off of the system and to build new sewage processing facilities to handle this waste. Neither the County nor local property owners have the financial ability for the construction necessary for expensive processing plants. Application for state assistance through grants is needed. A question was asked about the future of the old burned out Glades Inn on US 27. Mr. Carlisle indicated that a contract is in progress to have that property bulldozed and cleaned up. Insurance has already paid for the bulldozing and there will be no cost to the taxpayers.

There was some question about the construction of a 50-unit apartment building currently under construction on 10th St. next to the school bus barn in Moore Haven. This will be affordable housing for people in the agricultural labor pool, teachers, and other persons needing housing in this area. Affordable housing means that units will be rented according to the applicant’s income on a sliding scale. There was a question about the Fire and Ambulance tax. A resolution that is required by law to be able to consider the tax sometime in the future was approved by the Board of County Commissioners. In order for the Fire and Ambulance tax to be established, the BOCC will have to complete another assessment study and hold several public hearings before any assessment could take place. The County Board has not directed staff to move forward on the assessment process at this time.

There has been some rumor about Dunkin’ Donuts establishing a facility in or near Moore Haven. Mr. Carlisle stated that Dunkin’ Donuts has expressed some interest in looking for a place e.g. The former Burger King building or possibly at the new Love’s Travel Center but the timing is not right at this time. Will gas prices be lowered with the opening of Love’s? Gas prices are determined by the distance that the fuel must be shipped to filling stations and there’s no anticipation of a change in gas prices as a result of the opening of Love’s.

There was some question about a gas line currently under construction in Okeechobee which will provide natural gas for an electric power plant. Mr. Carlisle indicated that this gas line will run along the Okeechobee side of the border between Glades County and Okeechobee County and will have little effect on Glades. There was some concern about the loss of the Cracker Store that burned to the ground recently in Palmdale. Mr. Carlisle said that there has been some interest in the possible development of the property where the store burned, however; nothing of substance has been decided at this time.

Questions were asked about the former Chappie’s complex on State Route 78 N. Mr. Carlisle stated that a business, North Lake Marine, is now open in that complex. The owners have expressed interest in further development to include a convenience store and possibly a marina.

A question was raised about the construction between Love’s and the Training Center. In looking forward, Glades County Commissioners have provided the infrastructure for the Glades County Industrial Park and for future development therein as well as for the Travel Center.

There being no further questions or comments, the Friends of the Library expressed their appreciation for Mr. Carlisle’s presentation and comments with a good hand of applause.

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