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State wants Bronson to fulfill its end of the bargain

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By Mark Scohier

State officials are saying the Town of Bronson will have to make good on a promise to develop some of its land into a park before it can move on to other endeavors.

Town staff sent two requests to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection early last week asking that some of the town’s park space be used to construct a Verizon Wireless cell phone tower, as well as the location of a recreation building. Both matters have been subjects of discussion in recent months, and both, according to the letters, would be of benefit to the town.

Bronson has to get permission from the state because town parks were developed with state funds. And the state doesn’t have an issue with the requests, provided a few situations are addressed.

A letter from FDEP representative Mary Ann Lee to the town states that, among other things, Bronson needs to provide a timeline on developing a portion of a 10-acre site it purchased with state land conservation funds some time in 2005.

The town, per the agreement, was “required to develop this parcel within three years of the date of purchase, which would have been in 2008,” the letter stated. “Please beware that the Town is considered out of program compliance until this is completed.”

“The grant was written for a baseball field,” Town Clerk Kelli Brettel told the council Monday night. “It never happened.” 

Brettel said the agency would like to see the land developed before the end of the year, though, she added, “The majority of it is a cypress pond.” She suggested creating a recreational trail through a portion of the property.

Another requirement by FDEP related to the town’s request to build a facility and rent land for a cell phone tower is that public hearings be held to gather community input on both.

“This will provide assurance to the Department that public complaint about the tower particularly does not become an issue down the road,” Lee wrote.

Lee’s letter also requested that the town perform and record new boundary surveys for the areas where the cell tower and recreational facility will be located.