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Fla. City Buys Campground for $4.4 million

January 14, 2008 by   - () Leave a Comment

After two years of negotiations, the city of Destin, Fla., has bought the Destin Campground for $4.4 million.
The council voted Jan. 7 to buy the five-acre lot, though Florida rules for relocating mobile-home owners mean the city probably won’t close on the land until the end of the year, according to The Northwest Florida Daily News, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
The city, located in Florida’s panhandle, wants the campground to create part of a back-road corridor providing an alternative east-west route to U.S. 98.
Three acres of the land would be needed for the road, which would leave two acres available to build affordable housing for Destin’s work force. City Manager Greg Kisela said in a December report that the city is negotiating with the Destin Community Land Trust, a not-for-profit housing group, about the land.
During negotiations, campground owners John Gronning and Carl Napoli held out for a property exchange that would allow them to set up a new campground elsewhere. Gronning said that when nothing turned up, he and Napoli went ahead with the sale believing the city would otherwise use eminent domain. Council members have said repeatedly that wasn’t their intent.
Kisela said in his report that the city can pay $1.3 million of the cost from a 2002 bond, $1.3 million from a state grant and $1.75 million will come from whoever develops the housing on the two acres. The report said the city has begun negotiating with the land trust about that.
The council voted 6-1 to buy the property, using short-term financing to tide the city over until the grant and the housing money come in.

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