ANERR building set to revert to city

Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 09:19 AM.

The outlines of a deal have been reached between Apalachicola and the state of Florida to have the former headquarters of the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve revert to the city sometime next year.

Pam Phillips, communications administrator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Coastal & Aquatic Managed Areas, said that three-way talks between City Administrator Betty Taylor-Webb, and officials from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), have yielded an agreement.

This deal would give the city the main building, and the surrounding property including parking. Not included would be the nature walk that extends out into the bayou as well as the modular building closest to Scipio Creek.

“We will retain other portions of property that we’re still using. There is also a modular building used as offices and as a staging area for boat slips in the marina,” said Phillips. “It does not include the nature walk which is still open to the public.”

DEP staffers are continuing to use the building, and will until the time that Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet approve the transfer of the property.

“As far as we’re concerned, the sooner the better. We don’t have a date unfortunately,” said Phillips. “We still are running the electricity; they are in and out of it. Technically, we still are in it. We are moving forward in the midst of a process to return it to the city for their use.”

The property is reverting back into city hands because when the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve first created its headquarters there, part of that property was donated by the city and part assembled by donations from private landowners.

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