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Jacquee Markel


May 7, 2012 Jim Karels Director Florida Forest Services

Dear Director Karels, Over the past two months, the proposal to relocate the TDC Offices/Visitor Center has been the talk of Walton County. This is because it has only been within the past 2 months that the community has been made fully aware of the scope of this proposal. The community is not happy. Given timely information, Walton County residents like to be very involved in the decisions made for our community. A couple weeks ago, amidst the turmoil, the Walton Sun ran an online poll. Here are the results as of this morning:

What do you think about the proposed TDC Discovery Center to be planted in Point Washington State Forest? It will be a great welcome to South Walton tourists! 5% 5% The need is there, but it could be put elsewhere than in the forest. 7% 7% We don't need it. 87% 86% Who cares. 1%

Total Votes: 908

For a relatively small population like Walton County, 908 votes is noteworthy. (Note: multiple votes can not be entered from a computer.) In an unparalleled show of unity, disparate groups like the Walton County Taxpayers Association, the Beach to Bay Connection, the Walton County Tea Party, the Coastal Heritage Preservation Foundation and the South Walton Community Council, are speaking with one voice. Residents from the North of the county and residents from the South of the county agree, they dont want it! I read the 4-24-12 letter from Commissioner Putnam to Commissioner Brannon, where you mentioned the importance of community support several times. Had the community been brought to the table, early on, there would be alternate sites being considered, valuable time & money would not have been wasted, and the other issues of concern could have been addressed. That was not the case. I know that a Forestry Representative is scheduled to be present at tomorrows Board of County Commissioners meeting. I trust that an objective evaluation can be presented, within the scope of your Forestry mission, without regard to the perks that be gained as a result of the potential deal. Respectfully, Jacquee Markel