Saturday, December 16, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando to consider leasing Chinsegut Hill so it won't be sold

BROOKSVILLE — The folks who have worked hard and long to preserve a beloved Hernando County landmark got some good news Tuesday from county commissioners: They will consider backing a proposal to keep the 164-year-old Chinsegut Hill Manor House and its picturesque grounds in public hands.

Commissioners gave economic development manager Mike McHugh the go-ahead to explore the county's options to lease the facility from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which currently controls Chinsegut Hill.

"I'm thrilled," said Christie Anderberg, a member of the Historic Hernando Preservation Society and a founder of the Friends Of Chinsegut Hill, which is spearheading an effort to restore the antebellum plantation home and the nearby cabins and turn it into a setting for corporate conferences, weddings, nature retreats and educational seminars.

Anderberg said that her group has garnered more than $27,000 in private donations and recently secured a state historic grant that would pay for needed roof and structural repairs to the edifice. However, she stressed that all of that would be for naught if the state goes through with its plans to appraise and sell the property in November.

"We're down to the wire," Anderberg said. "This could be our last chance to save it."

The Friends have been trying to find a public or private agency to help the group care for Chinsegut Hill since 2009, when the University of South Florida announced it planned to abandon its lease after 40 years of using the facility as a retreat and conference center. But finding another state agency willing to parent the grass-roots group's effort to lease the facility has been frustrating.

Three years ago, the Friends helped put together a proposal that included support from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the county Tourist Development Council and the Hernando Historical Museum Association. This fell through after the county pulled out.

The conservation commission again raised hopes that it would be able to get funding to take over the manor house — if Friends could raise $75,000. It raised more than $25,000 in private donations, before the agency said last year that it could not secure funding after all.

Anderberg said that negotiations with other state agencies went nowhere. When DEP officials told her recently that the property would likely be put up for sale in November, she began scrambling to find local support.

Two weeks ago, Brooksville City Council members offered to write a letter of support for the Friends' effort. Anderberg has also garnered support from the county tourism board and the Hernando Audubon Society.

Commission Chairman Wayne Dukes said that while the county would be happy to explore what it could do, he told the Friends to consider the county's involvement as a "tool" and "not for the money."

Anderberg said she is confident that her group can make a go of it. They have a business plan in place, and strong volunteer support from the community, she said.

"We're dedicated and we will support anyone who is willing to share our vision," Anderberg said. "We're ready to make this happen."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

Comments

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 8 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Dec. 15, midday:01 563 0000e_SRit95765Fri., Dec. 15, evening:12 287 1492e_SRit04851Fantasy 5Fri., Dec. 15...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is very little these days that can dampen the mood of Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise, whose Gators knocked off reigning national champion Stanford in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals and face Nebraska tonight for the title. Not...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 10 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 11 hours ago