Mayor seeking lease of historic properties

Mayor Joe Boles plans to present a resolution to the City Commission seeking a 99-year lease from the state on its 34 historic properties here as part of a commitment to provide land for a proposed Castillo orientation center on the Colonial Spanish Quarter grounds.

The mayor said he’s prompted by Congressman John Mica’s effort to secure more than $900,000 in planning funds for the center.

“The proposed location includes state land,” Boles said, “and Mica can’t move forward until he has a commitment for the land and who will operate the center.

“We can’t provide that assurance with five-year lease periods we’ve been under, and the University of Florida, authorized to take over the properties, won’t agree to take them on unless it gets state funding.”

The 99-year lease request would go to the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund – the Governor and Cabinet. Boles said he’s so far been able to gain the support of Secretary of State Kurt Browning and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink.

Boles also suggested a new community visioning process, similar to former Mayor Greg Baker’s Vision ’93, but limited to our original walled city, in which all 34 state-owned historic properties are located.

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