FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2014
PARTNERSHIP PROVIDES MILITARY BASE BUFFER AND NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION
~U.S. Air Force, City of Niceville and Florida Communities Trust partner to acquire 67 acres~
Bill McCartney, Lannie Corbin, Steve Ruckel and Cheri Albin join Rick Mercer for the signing of the closing papers.
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) and the City of Niceville today closed on the first of three parcels to expand Turkey Creek Walk Park.
2011, Niceville submitted an FCT Parks and Open Space Grant application, which was
ranked fourth for funding by the FCT governing board. The acquisition plan includes three distinctive parcels.
The 67-acre priority parcel acquired today from Ruckel Properties,
Inc. will provide a military buffer on the south boundary of Eglin Air
Force Base Reservation and protect wooded wetlands along Turkey Creek.
"This acquisition is a win for the City of Niceville and for Florida's environment through preservation and base buffering," said Rick Mercer, DEP's director of operations. "We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Niceville, the U.S. Air Force, Ruckel Properties and Florida Communities Trust staff."
The site connects to the seven-acre Turkey Creek Walk
Park site acquired by the city with FCT grant funds in 1997.
“Niceville has put into concrete our commitment to the
environment and this acquisition will make this available to the public
forever,” said Lannie Corbin, manager of the City of Niceville.
In accordance with FCT grant requirements and
within the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) restrictions on the parcel, Niceville will protect and
manage the natural communities, and offer passive recreation including a loop
nature trail with benches, a swinging bridge over the creek and trail
connectivity to the parks and boardwalk to its south.
“Our family is proud to see the fulfillment of this dream
for the City of Niceville and the Turkey Creek Walk Park,” said Steve Ruckel,
president and chief executive officer of Ruckel Properties, Inc.
The total project cost for the acquisition, which includes
the land purchase price and acquisition expenses, was $163,840.70. The FCT grant award funded 75 percent of the
total cost, which was $122,880.52, with the Niceville’s required 25-percent match of
USAF provided supplemental funds above FCT’s maximum allowable purchase price
to assure public ownership of this parcel and secure military buffering
restrictions. Acquisition of the two remaining parcels is anticipated by
the end of August 2014.
Florida Communities Trust assists
communities in protecting important natural resources, providing recreational
opportunities and preserving Florida's traditional working waterfronts through
the competitive criteria in the Parks and Open Space Florida Forever
Grant Program and the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Florida Forever Grant
Program. These local land-acquisition grant programs provide funding to local
governments and eligible non-profit organizations to acquire land for parks,
open space, greenways and projects supporting Florida's seafood harvesting and
aquaculture industries. Florida Communities Trust is funded under the Florida Forever Program. Over the last 20 years, the
Florida Communities Trust has acquired 504 parcels valued at more than $1.5