In order to apply for a State of Florida Historic Preservation Special Category Grant to help reconstruct the fort at the Fort King Historic Landmark site, the Ocala City Council had to agree to match the grant, should it be the successful applicant. On Tuesday, the council voted to commit $75,000 in cash and $$224,500 of in-kind services to match the grant.
The request for the match was not listed on the council agenda; rather, it was walked on during Tuesday’s meeting. Council approved the request 4-0. Councilwoman Mary Rich was absent.
“We are looking for the Fort King Heritage Association to raise some of that,” Catherine Zimmer, the assistant city manager of public services, said about the match. “We will request the county participation in that as well as the city.”
The total estimated project cost is $597,500, of which $298,000 would come from the state grant and $299,500 from the city’s match. As part of the in-kind services commitment, the Fort King Heritage Association and the Gulf Archaeology Research Institute would provide $85,000 in professional services and volunteer labor.
The Fort King National Historic Landmark is comprised of 37 acres owned jointly by the city and Marion County. The site received the National Historic Landmark designation on Feb. 24, 2004. It is the site where the Second Seminole War began. The original fort that was built in 1827 was burned by the Seminole Indians but remained functional. It subsequently was used as Marion County’s first courthouse. Eventually, that structure was abandoned and ultimately disassembled and the building materials salvaged.
The national landmark, located off Fort King Street just east of Southeast 36th Avenue, opened to the public on May 31, 2014.
With the help of Gary Ellis of Gulf Archaeology Research Institute, the city applied for the grant in October. However, the application cannot be considered without a written commitment to match the grant. The City Council made that commitment without any discussion.
In other business Tuesday, the City Council:
• Voted to appoint Jay Musleh as council president and Jim Hilty Sr. as president pro tem
• Agreed to hold its strategic planning session on Feb. 10, 2015 at a time to be determined. It will be held in the conference room at 315 NE 14th St., the former headquarters of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, now owned by Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts I, CEO of R+L Carriers.
Contact Susan Latham Carr at 352-867-4156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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