Gov. DeSantis approves one fire station, but vetos money to relocate Shell Point fire station


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget last week that included several Wakulla projects – including $3.7 million to purchase the more than 200 acres where a controversial gas station had been proposed on a parcel that has an underground cave system linking Chip’s Hole to Wakulla Springs.

Conservation Florida will purchase the land, which is at Bloxham Cutoff and U.S. Highway 319, and it will be preserved as conservation land – minus 7 acres to be traded to Southwest Georgia Oil to build a gas station across Bloxham Cutoff on what is viewed as less sensitive land.
Wakulla County was approved for $2.1 million for a new St. Marks Fire Rescue Station, although the governor rejected funding for a new fire station to serve the Shell Point area, which would have moved that fire station to a location on higher ground that’s not as vulnerable to coastal surge.
The county also received $225,000 for an expansion of the community center – which is to be used to construct restroom and shower facilities for use in post-hurricane or other disaster scenarios. That particular project had been labeled by Florida Tax Watch as a budget turkey because it did not go through the usual budget process.
Other county projects that have received past funding and are moving forward include:

  • A new Emergency Operations Center, since the county received $3.25 million in 2023, and has received $3 million in federal funding through the state, plus a $1 million county match.
  • A new library, to be constructed on land the county owns at the community center. In 2023, the county received $800,000 for design and engineering, and has a $3.9 million commitment from the state Department of Economic Opportunity to build a new library.
  • In 2023, the state also budgeted Wakulla County to receive a Fire Rescue Engine for $750,000 and Fire Rescue Bunker Gear for $150,000.
    Gov. DeSantis signed the budget on Wednesday, June 12.