Highlands County says no to military training facility

10/07/09 Seán Kinane
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A proposed private military training facility has been rejected by the Highlands County Commission. As we reported earlier this week, proponents of the planned Eagle National Security Training Center hoped to change zoning to allow it in the rural community of Venus, Florida, near Lake Okeechobee. But after 11 hours of public hearing, all five Highlands County Commissioners voted against the project late last night.

Cherie Faircloth is a freelance journalist and activist from Orlando who opposes the Eagle military training facility. Faircloth comments that," This was purely and simply put a para-military, mercenary training center. So the citizens in the end won out. The commissioners were pressured by activist groups, by citizens. So the citizens won the day as the commissioners agreed to take this off the table, at least for now. So, Venus for now is, I believe, safe for the moment, but we I don't think we should take our eye off it for a moment."

Faircloth says there was a Lieutenant Colonel from the nearby Avon Park Air Force Base who testified against a long air strip that the Eagle group proposed. "It was interesting because right after that, within minutes, the attorneys or representative for the Eagle organization said that they would take the airstrip off the table; in other words no more airstrip in the project."

After nearly ten hours of testimony on Tuesday, the Highlands County Commission unanimously rejected the zoning change that would have been necessary for the private military training facility to go forward near the rural town of Venus.

previous WMNF coverage of Eagle National Training Center

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