Photo: Patricia Moynihan / WFSU Public Media

“Paul Russell Road is one of several that bisects the English property forest

A plan to save part of the English Forest in Tallahassee from development has moved a step closer. The Acquisition and Restoration Council of Florida Forever unanimously voted to approve the English Forest Preserve Project. Support from the Tallahassee City Commission, and other local entities helped secure the vote.

The Council expressed concern about the preservation plan—noting that it only covers part of the property and not all of the original 600 acres that was rezoned for mixed-use development last year. Despite those reservations, the council decided the environmental and archaeological importance of the property was enough to approve the plan for further evaluation.

‘We have evidence that there’s a good pattern of occupation,’ said Mary Glowacki of the Panhandle Archaeological Society. She says the area was occupied by Paleo-Indian peoples.

‘And the fact Mr. English himself collected a lot of lithic material that dates to that time period, there should be something out there.’

Glowacki said the potential for an archaeological discovery is likely, but not without the financial backing of Florida Forever.

‘It would be unfortunate the way the development could proceed if the property didn’t get brought under ARC,’ she said. ‘The city and the county don’t have a rigorous review program for cultural resources ahead of development, so we might jeopardize finding out more about cultural resources if that’s the case…’

The acquisition of the land by Florida Forever is not a done deal. The property must now undergo further evaluation, and a second vote is set for later this year to determine if the project will earn a spot on Florida Forever’s 2024 priority list.”

— Alexis Rejouis, WFSU

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