News / Events

Farmton developer launches scholarship program for high schools


June 4, 2011

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SOURCE: Miami Corp. website

OSTEEN -- The Miami Corp., Volusia County's largest private landowner, has launched a new local scholarship program.

Glenn Storch, an attorney for Miami Corp., said the family-run investment company, which owns the Farmton Tree Farm in southern Volusia and northern Brevard counties, wanted to recognize students "among the next generation who will preserve our environmental future."

The program is being called the "Farmton Scholarship for Excellence in Agriculture and Environmental Sciences."

Scholarships were created for seven high schools in an area surrounding the Chicago-based company's local land and were presented during ceremonies at the school. Each student recipient received $500.

Each scholarship was dedicated to a local resident who has been active in agricultural issues. The following are the Volusia high schools, scholarship recipient and local person:

DeLand High:Tara Fellows, dedicated to Frank M. Ford, a DeLand attorney and patriarch of a family with large agriculture holdings.

Deltona High:Amy Humphries, dedicated to the late Herky Huffman, a longtime conservationist and Stone Island resident.

New Smyrna High:James Barringer, dedicated to the late Elmer Kirkland, leader in the turf grass industry whose family owns Kirkland Sod.

Pine Ridge High:Patrick Cooney, dedicated to the late Alice Cross, a 38-year teacher who introduced generations of students to environmental conservation.

University High:Tyler Busch, dedicated to Earl Underhill, a retired forester who supervised the Miami Corp.'s local timber operations for 30 years.

Scholarships also were awarded at Titusville and Astronaut high schools in Brevard County.

Company, counties share in Sustainable Florida award

The Miami Corp., Volusia County and Brevard County won a Sustainable Florida award for partnership for the company's Farmton Local Plan during an annual awards ceremony Thursday night that recognizes green initiatives and business practices statewide.

Sustainable Florida is a program of the Tallahassee-based Collins Center for Public Policy. Its 2011 Best Practice Awards dinner took place in conjunction with the Florida Green Building Coalition's annual Green Trends conference, which was held this week at The Plaza Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach.

Glenn Storch, an attorney who represents the Miami Corp. locally, said he was impressed by the caliber of competitors and finalists, who represented a wide range of sustainable projects from across the state.

The company and the two counties were recognized for working together to design a long-term land use plan for 59,000 acres the Miami Corp. owns in the two counties, roughly between Edgewater, Osteen and Titusville. The land is considered a critical regional wildlife corridor.

During a series of workshops with the public and a panel of science experts, the company worked with the two counties to create its Farmton Local Plan. In exchange for conserving roughly 40,000 acres, the company received permission to allow the eventual development of 23,000 homes and more than 4 million square feet of commercial space on the remaining 19,000 acres.

The Farmton plan calls for a number of "green" initiatives, such as electric car charging stations, native plant lanscaping, bike paths and compliance with recommendations of the International Dark Sky Association.

Sustainable Florida credited the plan with being the "first large-scale private planning effort that puts protection of environmentally sensitive lands first, followed by a green development."

"Miami Corporation has always been committed to sustainability," said Barbara Goering, Miami Corp.'s vice president, in a statement released by Sustainable Florida. "It took our partners to come up with this excellent vision for this land."

Two area consultants worked with the company and the two counties to design the Farmton Local Plan, approved by Volusia County in April: Sans Lassiter with the Lassiter Transportation Group of Daytona Beach; and Joel Ivey with the Ivey Planning Group of Lake Mary.

Sustainable Florida bestowed awards in seven categories, including green building, leadership, large and small business, government and nonprofit.

More than 80 organizations had been nominated for awards, including the East Central Florida Regional Planning Council's 2060 plan.

Not everyone is pleased with the plan. The Edgewater Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development and the Sierra Club have challenged Volusia County's approval, saying the plan violates the county's comprehensive plan. The groups have argued the development is too intense for the rural area.