Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter sent to Franklin County commissioners regarding the potential annexing of Alligator Point to Wakulla County.
I am respectfully contacting you in regards to the disheartening possibility of Alligator Point annexing to Wakulla County. My husband and I are permanent residents at 638 Alligator Drive. Our perspective of Franklin County is vastly different than those being expressed publicly.
We have sat back in near-silence as others have publicly chastised the county for a myriad of issues, often clearly beyond the scope of responsibility or control. However, the way that these neighbors publicly criticize each other on social media should be evidence of a more deeply seated issue. I am fearful that a comparatively small percentage of stakeholders are obtaining the most merit, as is often a natural result to being more vocal. The very misleading newspaper advertisement was particularly embarrassing for us. I am constantly clarifying to colleagues that the conditions of my living area are nearly pristine. We absolutely love it here, and have nothing but positivity and appreciation towards Franklin County.
Granted, our house is situated well before the portion of the street that has been significantly damaged. However, I suspect most of us residents are. While Alligator Point is often conceptualized as those at the very tip of the street in waterfront homes, the reality is much different. Permanent residents span a wide range of geographical placements and socioeconomic classes, many of whom might be completely unaware of this potential life-changing possibility, not even realizing they could soon be cast from the county that we are proud to call home.
Regarding public services, we have had to enlist the assistance of the Franklin County sheriff’s office twice. When Hurricane Hermine knocked a tree onto our house shortly after we moved here, it was the officer on call who responded and helped us find an available tree-cutting service. When a former neighbor, who was mentally-ill, had issues in the middle of the night, it was a very patient officer who spent hours calming the situation and ensuring our own safety. We've been nothing but impressed with the level of services provided, and certainly do not feel abandoned or cut off from the variety of other county-provided services.
Coming from St. Joe Beach in Gulf County nearly three years ago, the small-town coastal community was not something that we wanted to give up. For that reason, we choose Franklin County as a means to satisfy the type of the lifestyle important to us, while allowing us to simultaneously advance our professional careers in education. With just an hour commute from Florida State University where I am a faculty member, Alligator Point was the perfect solution.
That said, we are quiet couple who doesn't like to make waves, and could certainly afford to be more knowledgeable and involved in politics. However, we are very concerned about the potential trajectory of this surprising issue, and realize it is the time to say something. In reviewing the video of last Wednesday morning’s meeting, we were shocked and saddened by the impression that the majority of Alligator Point residents feel negatively about the county and are so eager to jump ship to Wakulla.
As full-time residents, the possibility of this transition is both disheartening and daunting. We truly enjoy supporting our county, and there is a significant cultural difference between traveling to Carrabelle or Apalachicola and traveling to Crawfordville. The fact that nearby neighbors could nonchalantly view this as a solution to the inevitable waterfront-road issue is concerning to the say the least. It appears to me that those with the strongest opinions are those who would not have to face such a drastic lifestyle change, those who are here in secondary homes, as visitors. While they may be more confident, more opinionated, and even more brazen, we kindly ask you to more strongly consider the impact that this will have on your permanent residents of Alligator Point and Bald Point. We love Franklin County and will be devastated to leave.
With sincerest appreciation for your time and consideration,
Kristen and Casey Guynes