Navy Federal Credit Union, eager to grow its Pensacola operations and call center, has won the vote of Florida 4-Hers.
The youngsters of the Escambia 4-H County Council – under a complex trustee pact involving the Escambia County Commission and the Florida 4-H Foundation – voted 21-16 Monday to sell 240 acres of land to the $48 billion Navy Federal, clearing the way for the credit union to add new facilities and hire more people.
The 3.9 million-member, Virginia-based credit union has said it expects to add 600 employees there, bringing its Pensacola total to 3,000 within a year.
The $3.6 million sale is still subject to final approval of the County Commission, expected in the next few weeks. The credit union’s 65-acre, four-building Heritage Oaks facility is now adjacent to the Langley Bell 4-H Camp, and will take over what now houses an auditorium, livestock barns and a pond area.
Pamela Allen, Escambia County’s Extension director from the University of Florida, said the 4-H youngsters agreed with foundation leaders that proceeds could be better used to build the county’s 4-H club network, aid in serving underserved youth and finance scholarships.
As part of the sale agreement, Navy Federal has agreed to “use the pond area as a memorial site, establish historical markers and perhaps set up picnic grounds open to the public,” Allen said.
Not all the youngsters and the adults favored the sale since some commission members voiced concerns about protecting 4-H youth, making certain, as one put it, “that these kids receive the very best,” Allen said.
She said Navy Federal currently sits on former 4-H property the credit union bought years ago. The county commission, as trustees for the property, also has in the past sold off parcels for the federal interstate highway system, a Welcome Center and for a commercial park, Allen said.