Freeport City Council honors employees, approves mixed-use development

FREEPORT MAYOR RUSS BARLEY and Larry Tuggle, city Employee of the Year.

Story by ADRIANNE WALLINE CAMPBELL 

The Freeport City Council held its regular meeting on Jan. 25, 2024, at the Freeport City Hall. Council members Elizabeth Haffner and Elizabeth Brannon were not present. Recognition was given to Samantha Graves for the Employee of the Quarter, and Larry Tuggle for Employee of the Year. 

 Community Pool Hours & Fee Proposal: The hours were changed to 9 – 5 p.m. every day except Sunday, and open for lap swim on Saturday and Sunday, (the hour before opening). Fees are ages 1-15: $4 and 16+: $6. Military and seniors over 65, is $5. 

Westonwood Ranch Rodeo received approval to use the field at the Freeport Regional Sports Complex on March 22 and 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. They anticipate approximately 2,500 people each night. Lindy Wood CEO of Westonwood Ranch presented her request. 

Mark Wendel of Heroes for Heroes Firefighter Challenge Special Event received approval for his request to waive the fees. 

Approval was given for the City of Freeport Utility Service Agreements for both the Freeport Elementary and Middle Schools. 

Approval was given concerning the Holiday Policies:

• All Holidays shall be approved by the City Council annually.

• All full-time employees will be given 8 “holiday hours” on the date of the holiday. These “holiday hours” will not create or be counted toward any other type of hours which could lead to over-time pay. 

• Holidays that fall on a Saturday shall be observed on Friday and holidays that fall on Sunday shall be observed on Monday. 

FREEPORT MAYOR RUSS BARLEY and Samantha Graves, city Employee of the Quarter.

The upcoming 2024 Election Dates conflict with the Councils regular meetings as the building is used as a polling place. The Council agreed to move the meeting times to March 6 and Aug. 7. 

Both items presented by Samantha Graves of the Planning Department were approved. 

• Owl’s Head Farms Phase 1A  

• Owl’s Head Farms Phase 1B

Planning Director Latilda Hughes-Neel received approval for her items.

• Madison at Owl’s Head- Site Utility Pump Memorandum of Understanding.  

• Marquis Way West Phase I RFQ: Alday-Howell Engineering received approval. 

• Bay Vita /City of Freeport Developer’s Agreement was approved. The development is 25 acres at the Northeast corner of the intersection of U.S. 331 and CR-3280 and the developer is Jay Odom. The total price for 167 ERCs (Equivalent Residential Connection) is $2,223,053.90. Each Water Capacity Fee at the Outside the City Limit Rate is $3,497.51 and each Sewer Capacity Fee at the Outside the City Limit Rate is $9,814.19. 

It is a mixed-use development with two hotels, a convenience store, two fast food restaurant pad sites, three-story indoor storage facility, two retail warehouse buildings (25% is retail space and 75% is warehouse space in each building), 12 indoor pickleball courts, (24) four-bedroom affordable employee housing units, veterinary clinic, specialty restaurant, and a lawn area. The two hotels are Home2 Suites by Hilton and a Holiday Express. They also plan on an Urgent Care Facility and a 20,000 square foot Veterinarian Hospital directed by Dr. Dreyfuss of Tallahassee. There will be MRI, cancer treatment, eye surgery, back surgery at the Veterinary Hospital. There will also be a Tesla Super Charging Station. 

The welding department at the Emerald Coast Technical College has agreed to make life-size, 2D silhouettes of animals native to this area. The project materials will be paid for from the art fund and it will be a class project. When the project is completed they will have a ribbon cutting. 

Councilman Tracey Dickey appointed William Rhodes to the Planning Board.