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Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor proposes acquiring part of Apalachicola National Forest

Apalachicola National Forest Foggy Day Break
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The Apalachicola National Forest

Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor wants the federal government to give part of the Apalachicola National Forest to the county for housing and other needs. Some of his colleagues were taken aback, but the commission agreed to consider it at a future meeting.

The idea came up at a city-county workshop on amendments to the comprehensive plan. Proctor spoke passionately about the need for housing in his district on Tallahassee’s south side, then suggested acquiring part of the national forest that borders on the county.

“We don’t want them to sell it. We want them to give it," Proctor said. "And the federal government belongs to us. It’s the people of Florida. We pay for it. All of it is ours. We’re putting a new name on the same piece of property.”

Proctor acknowledged that it was out-of-the-box thinking. But so, he said, was the Louisiana Purchase. Commissioner Brian Welch wasn’t biting.

“I just can’t get there," Welch said. "It’s like if the people of Arizona said, ‘Hey, we’d like to build some housing in the Grand Canyon.’ I don’t think they would get there, either.”

The commission voted to take up Proctor’s proposal at a later meeting. Commissioner Christian Caban, who represents District 2, says he’s a “hard no.”

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.