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Final OK of bill accepting land donation delayed

Final consideration of legislation accepting the donation of nearly 300 acres of Mississippi riverfront property to be used as a county park will be delayed until residents have an opportunity to meet with Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, and other officials later this month.

Campisi, the owners of property adjacent to Cliff Cave Park and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bussen Quarries, the county Department of Parks and Recreation, and other officials will be available to answer questions during a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the Point Elementary School gymnasium, 6790 Telegraph Road.

The councilman tentatively scheduled the meeting in December after learning of Oakville residents' concerns that a 285-acre tract immediately south of Cliff Cave Park and immediately north of the property that could be donated might be zoned for an industrial use.

After introducing legislation Dec. 9 that, if approved, would accept the donation, Campisi left town to vacation with his family in Florida.

Residents who live on the bluffs overlooking the property that the owners would retain, currently being raised about 17 feet out of a 100-year flood plain, then showed up at council meetings during the second and third readings of the legislation, voicing opposition, citing environmental and access concerns.

Campisi was contacted and informed of the situation and then asked councilmen to delay passage of the bill until he could return and address the residents' concerns.

"I think the main concern from the people in that area ... (is) with the remainder of that property, you know, what is he going to do with it?" Campisi told the Call.

"I still think it's a good idea,'' he added.

He felt bad that he was on vacation when residents had raised so many concerns during council meetings, Campisi said, but he would make sure bill No. 465 was held until after the Jan. 21 meeting so that residents will have ample time to get their questions answered.

During the council's Jan. 6 session, Campisi asked residents to attend the Jan. 21 meeting at Point Elementary School to find out more information on the donation and he emphasized the bill would be delayed.

Before the public meeting, Campisi said he plans to meet with George Foster, one of the owners of the property that could be donated. Foster, who has assured Campisi he has no plans for the property, also may meet privately with some of the residents before the Jan. 21 meeting to answer additional questions, according to Campisi.

In other business, councilmen unanimously selected Councilman Skip Mange, R-Town and Country, to serve as the council's chairman for 2004. Councilman Greg Quinn, R-west county, stepped down from the chairman's seat, which he had held for nearly two years.

Councilmen also unanimously selected Campisi to serve a second one-year term as vice chairman.

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