Wakulla County, Florida- August 17, 2012
This was a great day for the Wakulla County Historical Society. One they've been waiting for, for more than a year.
"We can hardly believe that it's come true," said Cathy Frank, president of the Wakulla County Historical Society.
The Boynton family of Tallahassee, donated 40 acres of land off of Zion Hill Road, to help preserve history in Wakulla.
At a ceremony this morning, they officially signed it over.
"Everybody got involved in it and it took a pretty long time to get it done, but now that that is over with and we can get into the construction part of it, I'm very excited," said Ben Boynton, who purchased the property in 2004.
Boynton said the donated land equals about a quarter million dollars.
The historical society plans to turn it into a Heritage Village Park.
They'll move donated historical homes to the new land and build around them.
"We're going to have demonstrations of lifestyles, say early 1800's, we're going to show how people actually lived," Frank said.
The society hopes to make the park a tourism destination, which will include hiking trails, an educational center and fun sights to see.
"I think it's a great showcase for the history of the whole area, not only this county," Boynton added.
After a year and a half long journey, the historical society looks forward to the project to preserve Wakulla's rich history.
Crawfordville, Florida- August 10, 2012
The Wakulla County Historical Society announced today that it will be celebrating the gift conveyance of almost 40 acres of land from the Ben Boynton family at 10:00am on August 17, 2012. The conveyance will take place at the Zion Hill United Methodist Church which is adjacent to the land to be conveyed. The Boynton family, members of the Wakulla County Commission, members of the Wakulla County Historical Society and the general public has been invited to help celebrate this historic event.
The Heritage Village is a plan of the WCHS that calls for relocation of some 12 historic homes that have been donated to the Society. The homes would become the focus for a park featuring not only the historic homes, but a representation of the life and times of early Wakulla families. An educational center, signage and kiosk, interpretive exhibits, amphitheater, hiking trails and other amenities would make the Park a tourism destination.
The largest barrier to establishment of the Park was the lack of land suitable for the Village. There is an old adage, “timing is everything”. Mr. Ben Boynton, a local developer was sitting in the audience when Murray McLaughlin of the Wakulla County Historical Society made a presentation to the Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners in early 2011 regarding the WCHS vision for a Heritage Village. As a result, Mr. Boynton communicated to Mr. McLaughlin that he would be interested in talking to the Society about a donation of up to 40 acres for location of the Village. Soon, members of the Heritage Village were out walking on a beautiful piece of property ideally located and well suited for the Village vision.
Mr. Boynton advised the Society that he would file a revised land use plan for Bloxham Plantation to include approximately 40 acres for the Society. The gift to the Society would help him meet requirements for conservation easements and green space and simultaneously help the Society with location of the Heritage Village. It would then be up to the County to look favorably upon the change. On March 11, 2011, the first formal action by the Commission began a journey of many staff meetings, Planning Commission meetings and three meetings of the Board of County Commission. This culminated in a final Board meeting on July 16th which approved Mr. Boynton’s project and cleared the way for transfer the land to the WCHS.
The transfer will take place on Aug. 17, 2012 at the Zion Hill United Methodist Church adjacent to the property. To locate the site, drive one mile south of SR 267 on US 319 and turn right on Zion Hill Road. This road ends at the church.
The Boynton Family, County Officials, members of the Historical Society and the general public are invited to celebrate this historic event. An official of the Historical Society will be available to lead interested parties on a short tour of the property.
Mr. McLaughlin stated, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the WCHS and will go a long way toward making our dream a reality. We are very grateful to Mr. Boynton for his generosity and for considering our vision worthy of this gift. We can now begin the planning and fund raising needed, knowing we have a home.”