Plum Creek continues community meetings to build master plan

Ideas for developing the eastern part of Alachua County are to be discussed.

Published: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 at 1:38 p.m.

The Plum Creek timber company is involving the public in planning future development of its lands in eastern Alachua County through a series of workshops, tours and educational forums.


If You Go

What: Models of Innovation educational forum
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: University of Florida Phillips Center, 315 Hull Road
Cost: Free

The first Models of Innovation educational forum — about economic development — is at 7 p.m. Thursday at the University of Florida Phillips Center, 315 Hull Road. Admission is free.

Scheduled speakers include John Doggett, senior lecturer in the Department of Management at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and David Denslow, UF economics professor and research economist for the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research.

Doggett will discuss countries that are leading the way in the innovation economy, and Denslow will discuss demographics of the Alachua County area, according to a news release.

Future forum topics will include land conservation and resource management, and community design.

Plum Creek also will host a driving tour of its lands in Alachua County from 8 a.m. to noon Aug. 12 and 1 to 5 p.m. Aug. 13.

Space is limited. To register, visit

The real estate investment trust is the largest private landowner in the county, with about 65,000 acres, most of it in timber production.

The company recently started the Envision Alachua process to come up with a long-term master plan for the lands, especially a 17,000-acre woodland tract east of Newnan’s Lake between State Roads 20 and 26.

As part of the process, Plum Creek convened a 29-member task force representing economic development, business, local government, education, conservation and residents of eastern Gainesville and eastern Alachua County.

An initial vision statement from the first two task force meetings includes the following goals:

Provide economic development that supports innovation and provides jobs for all economic levels, including retaining UF graduates.

Support development of communities with a mix of land uses that conserves environmentally sensitive areas, protects water supplies and protects agriculture to ensure the availability of locally grown food.

Engage the community in planning and ensure that jobs are created to allow residents to live and work in eastern Alachua County.

At the June 27 meeting, Vivian Filer of the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center said she would like development that draws people to the east side of town.

“We too on this side of town would like to go to the doctor without driving 20 miles. We too would like to have a Publix,” she said.

Terry Tougaw, director of community planning for Alachua County Public Schools, said eastern residential development “would be a shot in the arm in terms of the eastside schools and in terms of the space that we have available.”

While several members brought up specific aspects they’d like to see, Charles Lee of Audubon of Florida said it’s more important to create a general framework that can respond to the “economic gravity of the time” than to place constraints based on the considerations of the moment.

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