Alachua County BOCC to weigh church purchase Tuesday

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will tackle whether or not to buy a $3.5 million church property in High Springs at its hybrid regular meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Alachua County Administration Building (12 S.E. 1st Street, Gainesville), will include a range of issues, but the potential major purchase is the headline item.

In March the county began exploring the acquisition of Fellowship Baptist Church in High Springs, which comes with buildings totaling 35,000 square feet and nine acres. 

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Commissioners who toured the facility expressed optimism that it could serve as a hub for operations in the northwest corner of the county. 

“I think it’s wonderful,” Commissioner Mary Alford said in March. “There is a huge need, and that’s where people are moving to get affordable homes.”

However, the full asking price, which was originally based on 20 acres of land, rather than nine, met with some resistance. 

Other items of interest on the agenda include:

  • Appointment of one citizen-at-large member to Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee
  • Appointment of citizen for vacancy on the Alachua County Historical Commission
  • Request authorization to advertise a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Human Rights Ordinance
  • ZOM-02-21: Minor amendment to the Oakmont Planned Development
  • Second Public Hearing to consider an Ordinance extending by six months a moratorium established by Ordinance 2020-26 on new development or structures in the Rural Commercial Agriculture Future Land Use designated areas

The BOCC—which canceled the evening portion of the meeting—will take public comment in person or by calling 1-800-876-7516.

Face masks are now optional at BOCC meetings, but Alachua County still “strongly recommends that those not vaccinated wear a mask.”

For meeting audio-only, call 301-715-8592, and when prompted, use meeting code 670 965 3024. The public may view the meeting on Cox Channel 12, Facebook, and the county’s video on demand website.

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