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Fort Walton Beach city surplus property sale

FORT WALTON BEACH   --  FORT WALTON BEACH - More than 5.2 million dollars in city property could go up for sale in Fort Walton Beach. First, the unused buildings and vacant lots have to be declared "surplus" at a special council meeting.
   
Laura Hussey says, "This is perhaps the most visible property the city will consider selling, the Chester Pruitt Rec Center on Carson Drive. Closing it is part of a plan to consolidate all recreational activities into a brand new complex being built on Jet Drive"
   
Selling the building could bring the city more than half a million dollars. But people who use it say their neighborhood will suffer a loss. Jentry Smith brings her son to Head Start here.
   
Jentry Smith says, "There's other things they can do. I don't think they should take the Head Start or a park away from one neighborhood to move everybody to another neighborhood. What about the ones who don't have transportation to get over there to Jet Drive?"
   
Most of the properties being evaluated for sale are already unused. Several are houses that the city has acquired through code enforcement liens.
   
The city manager says declaring properties surplus can generate revenue twice.....first by selling them, then by getting them back on the tax rolls.
   
Lisa Umile of Fort Walton Beach says, "I think that would be a great idea, we can definitely use the money"
   
Lisa Umile works across from a couple of city-owned lots with a combined appraisal value of almost two million dollars. A real estate broker says they're suited for commercial development. 
   
Umile says, "Yeah exactly, and more jobs, we can always use more jobs"
But the broker recommends waiting a year until the market improves.
As for the former wastewater treatment plant valued at 2.7 million dollars, he says the city might as well find something to do with it, because it wouldn't have much use for an ordinary buyer.
   
Laura Hussey says, "City leaders will talk about which properties to declare surplus at a special meeting, 5:30 PM Tuesday."