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Plum Creek Accelerates Potential Job Creation

Written By: Chris Eversole

Plum Creek has touted its plan for eastern Alachua County as the opportunity to produce 30,000 jobs over the next 50 years.

Many people have welcomed the potential benefits, while others have challenged the plan as a potential environmental threat and a burden on taxpayers.

Plum Creek has responded to critics dramatically, preparing a revised plan that answers the critics with major changes, including reducing the amount of land targeted for development to 4,200 acres from 7,600 acres.

The revised plan focuses on providing jobs sooner rather than later – starting with annexing 1,363 acres (about the size of the 1,385-acre University of Florida campus) into the city of Hawthorne.

“I particularly like annexing into Hawthorne and getting moving there,” said Rob Brinkman, a member of the Envision Alachua Task Force.

Brinkman spoke at a meeting of the task force, a broad-based group that has advised Plum Creek over the past four year, held at the GRU Eastside Operations Center on Monday (June 22).

Other task force members also applauded the revised sector plan application that Plum Creek is submitting to county government.

The accelerated timetable addresses the urgent need for creating jobs needed in the eastern part of the county, said task force member Adrian Taylor.

“We have to respond to the economic chasm in the county and stop its unacceptable trajectory,” said Taylor, who is both a vice president of the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and the pastor of the Springhill Missionary Baptist Church.

Task force member Bill Strassberger, who formerly lived in Cross Creek and now lives in Melrose, endorsed the potential of job creation within several years.

“Hawthorne needs this and wants it,” he said. “It should go through without a lot of hogwash.”


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