Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Hernando

Brooksville tree-top adventure course owner must renegotiate lease

Hernando County commissioners want to encourage the park operator to buy the property.
ANGELIQUE HERRING | Times From left to right, Racheal Shaefer, Victoria Asencio and FLG X guide Jessica Seitz watch and encourage Ashley Concepcion, top center, as she starts out on the first course at FLG X on July 5 in Brooksville. With four courses ranging in difficulty, the adventure park previously called "Treeumph!" officially reopened with a charity event benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County. [HERRING, ANGELIQUE | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 16

BROOKSVILLE — A new operator gave fresh life this year to the shuttered tree-top adventure course known as TreeUmph! But he has run into a snag over his proposed lease with the Hernando County Commission.

Commissioners are encouraging the operator of the FLG X Adventure Course to buy the county property soon, and have sent their staff back to negotiate something new.

County economic development director Valerie Pianta brought the lease proposal to commissioners on Oct. 8. It would have required course operator Paul Kent to pay $12,000 for the first year and $24,000 each of the next four years. It would have given Kent two more five-year lease options, with a 5 percent increase each year after the first five.

Kent operates the Tampa Bay Extreme Adventure Course on a 35-acre county parcel east of Brooksville. He reopened the course in April after the previous operator ran into financial difficulties. Kent owns a similar course in Flagstaff, Ariz., on another public property and recently purchased property for a third course in New Jersey.

Commissioners said the proposed lease payment structure did not provide incentive for Kent to buy the land.

"We wanted to not own it anymore,'' said Commissioner John Allocco.

Kent said that was his hope, as well, and that operating a park owned by another entity took away some of his flexibility.

"We want it to work. We want to buy the land,'' he said, but first it was important to know it was a "sustainable revenue model.''

"We want to be here for the long term,'' Kent said. "If it takes five or more years to get there, I’m okay with that.''

But that wasn’t acceptable to Commissioner Steve Champion. The proposed lease “wouldn’t even pay the taxes” Kent would have to pay if he owned the site.

Giving the new operator time to make the business work was Pianta’s goal, particularly after the previous operators went under. It’s important to bring people into the county, she said, and this is an attractive "adventure-themed activity.''

"We’re still not in the business of charity,'' Champion said. "The taxpayers still own this.''

Commissioner John Mitten suggested escalating the lease payments after the second year to make the purchase option a better deal.

"We definitely want you to succeed. We want you to be in Hernando County,'' Mitten said. "We don’t want to own it.'' He also suggested setting a purchase price.

Champion said he didn’t want a lease longer than five years. Pianta said she would take the commissioners’ comments and work out a new deal with Kent.

"We want you to be successful,'' Allocco said, "but we don’t want to be in the rental business.''







ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2018)
Hernando County School District Headquarters, Brooksville
    The district has also promised to look for ways to bring insurance costs down for 2021 and beyond.
  2. Workers begin construction in 2010 on what would become Winding Waters K-8. That was the last new public school built in Hernando County, which faces capacity strains as officials ask for impact fee raises to keep up with growth. Times
    With schools operating at 98 percent capacity, the proposed increase isn’t what school leaders want, but it is something.
  3. Commissioner Steve Champion ALICE HERNDEN  |  Special to the Times
    Commissioners also agree to declare Hernando County a Second Amendment sanctuary.
  4. The Secret Garden, overlooking a lively canal, provides scenic, airy dining at Silver Dolphin Restaurant & Country Store. Owner Yann Milcendeau, who designed and planted the space, says a restaurant needs "something different" to succeed. BETH N. GRAY  |  Special to the Times
    The Silver Dolphin & Country Store joins ZigZag Scallop, which opened four years ago.
  5. Mermaids perform their version of Hans Christian Andersons' classic fairy tale, 'The Little Mermaid,' in the underwater theater at Weeki Wachee Springs  State Park last week. Michele Miller
    River advocate says the city doesn’t work like a normal government and may be putting the Weeki Wachee River and springs in jeopardy.
  6. Beau, Vivi, Peter and Meredith are available for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay area shelter pets
  7. George Dwyer stars as Jarvis Standish (left) and Scott Tilson as Marco Santiago (right) in 'American Heartbeat,' an original musical about a Marine Vietnam veteran and an undocumented immigrant who meet while vying for the same job. The show will be presented Nov. 22-24 at Stage West Community Playhouse in Spring Hill. Martha Velez
    ProComm Theatre Troupe presents ‘American Heartbeat.’
  8. Appalachian Road Show performs Nov. 29 during the Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival at the Sertoma Youth Ranch in Brooksville. Shore Fire Media
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  9. The Hernando County Utilities Department will host an open house Dec. 3 on plans to expand a county wastewater treatment plant. Barbara Behrendt
    Hernando County will hold a public information meeting Dec. 3 on the plans.
  10. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement