Weatherford Democrat

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January 31, 2013

College hopes to lease land, offers land for lease

(Continued)

College officials have discussed the proposal with 4-H leaders in meetings twice, Kayla Neill, county extension agent for 4-H and Youth Development, said, but the details are still pending.

“I’m looking forward to this,” she said. “It look likes the college can provide us with a much-needed update.”

Neill said utility costs are a huge burden on the 4-H program, with the organization paying between $120 to $150 a month, regardless of the amount of electricity used, which is minimal.

“I haven’t felt pressured [by the college proposal] at all,” she said, “but concerns about paying the utility bills have kept me up at night.”

A lot of time and effort have gone into the youth center’s facilities, Neill said, beginning about 15 years ago, when the 4-H program began leasing county acreage and adding facilities.

“The college has assured us we aren’t going to lose our identity,” she said, “and when we compared our schedules, it doesn’t look like we’ll even cross paths.”

Neill said she is already granting requests from the college to use the center’s facilities.

“Today, Agricultural Science Program Director Mike Brown asked if a horsemanship class could come out and ride,” she said Tuesday. “[Losing their practice arena] has been quite a burden on them, from my understanding.”

After discussing the issue in an executive session of Commissioners’ Court Monday, Judge Mark Riley said officials will not approve the college’s proposal if the 4-H does not agree.

He said later that the court would not discuss the college’s request for an additional 5 acres at this time.

“We’re not there yet,” he said. “We’ll look at what the 4-H has.”

Neill said she hopes college representatives and members of the 4-H committee will meet soon and reach a decision quickly.

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