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Princess Place Saved Again: Flagler Pulls Extreme Race Out of Preserve and Looks Elsewhere

| August 23, 2015

princess place preserve saved

Saved again. (© FlaglerLive)

There will not be an extreme-sport race on the soil of the Princess Place Preserve, which was saved again from undue encroachment–as it was in the 1990s, when the conservation preserve was created–by a public outcry that shook and surprised county government.


County Administrator Craig Coffey, conceding to the outpouring of opposition to holding such a race at the preserve—and to a majority of county commissioners’ categorical opposition to the event there—informed commissioners Sunday that the race would be pulled, and different venues considered, among them the Agriculture Museum at the edge of the preserve.

Coffey formalized the announcement in a news release issued Sunday morning, though the release sought to paint his decision as resulting from what he called “some challenges, such as parking, that would be difficult to overcome.”

More likely, commissioners made Coffey aware that there was no political support for the race at Princess Place after they were flooded with emails opposing the proposal, after numerous questions were raised about Spartan and the manner in which the county administration was working through the deal, and after a “Protect Princess Place” Facebook created Thursday to oppose the plan drew over 1,000 members. A Florida Wildlife Federation official also contacted FlaglerLive with concerns about the plan, as did Clay Henderson, the powerful environmental attorney, the former Audubon of Florida president who was a governing board member of the Florida Communities Trust program when the first few hundred acres of Princess Place were purchased with state and county preservation dollars in the early 1990s. “I doubt seriously that the proposed activity is consistent with the plan and easement,” Henderson said, referring to the Princess Place Preserve’s management plan and conservation easement.

The county administration as late as Friday, and county tourism director Matt Dunn on Wednesday, were defending or championing the race and its location as a good fit. Dunn, who did not return several interview requests, got the county’s Tourist Development Board unanimously to approve a $25,000 cash subsidy for the race organization, called the Spartan Race, the largest such subsidy to a single organization, even though its race organizers never appeared before the board or submitted an application for TDC funds, as local organizations are required to do, and even though local organizations’ grants top off at $10,000. Spartan Race is an opaque, private, for-profit commercial organization that does not publicize its directors’ names or direct contact information. It did not respond to a request for interviews placed through its media-request page.


County miscalculations and a public outcry force a rapid reversal.


As of this morning, Spartan was still selling race registrations (from $79 to $109 per runner), spectator tickets (at $25 per) and vehicle parking spots (from $10 to $50) for the March 19 event at Princess Place. A Spartan official referring to himself as “Gary B.” and an “Assistant Director” had sent form emails to several people inquiring about the race, and informing them that “Unfortunately we will not be able to change the venue or location for this event as we have already committed to our racers to put on an event at this locations and hundreds if not thousands have already starting making plans to be there.”

Coffey did not address Spartan’s position, nor answer emailed questions Saturday or a phone call Sunday. Today’s six-paragraph news release still attempted to defend the original decision to hold the race at Princess Place, claiming that it would not have encroached on the area’s environmental sensitivity. Dunn is quoted in the release as touting “the positive economic impact from visitor spending” from such events.

By Friday and Saturday, however, three county commissioners—George Hanns, Charlie Ericksen and Barbara Revels—had made clear that they were opposed to the race taking place at Princess Place. They were not opposed to it being situated somewhere else, and were more divided over whether Spartan should be subsidized, wherever it would be situated. None of the three commissioners had heard of the race, each claimed, until either last Wednesday, when Dunn described it to the TDC, or when a FlaglerLive story and dozens of emails started flooding their inbox.

george hanns 25 years

County Commissioner George Hanns. (© FlaglerLive)

“It’s very unlikely that I’d be supporting anything like this and I can’t imagine any county commissioner supporting that race at the Princess Place,” Hanns said Friday, as Coffey was still scrambling to salvage the race at Princess Place. “Somewhere else would be fine with me, and I normally, as you know, I don’t tip my hand, but I spent too many hours there and fought too hard to make it what it is to let it go to some kind of commercial venture race.”

Revels spoke in similar terms, having herself had a long attachment to the preserve. She said she was opposed to Spartan racing there because of “the size of the event, the footprint of the event itself. You know how I feel about Princess Place, having been a part of the group that pushed to get it and was on work groups out there cleaning it up before it was ever opened to the public.” She also camps and spends time there with her family. “I certainly pay attention when it comes to Princess Place.”

Revels said she told Coffey that “many, many” of the people who emailed her also said they’d want to see the event take place somewhere else in Flagler County. (Meeker and Ericksen said that caveat was not part of the content of emails they received. “I don’t recall any of them saying they were recommending it goes somewhere else, it was all hell no not at princess place,” Meeker said.) Revels did not fault the county administration of the tourism office for the way the event was handled, blaming the progression of events rather on Spartan itself for changing the date from November 2016 to March, though it was Dunn who went along with the date change.

“Matt Dunn had been working with this group about the potential to bring it to Flagler County and they had a date way off in November 2016,” Revels said, “and very suddenly they popped up and said we have to move it to March, and he hustled up to get the package ready even though there were a lot of unanswered questions.” As of Sunday, Revels said, she would not be approving the $25,000 subsidy, especially as she had not heard any presentation about it.

Commissioner Ericksen had attended the Tourist Development Council meeting Wednesday and spoke of his doubts about the event then, even after the council, chaired by County Commissioner Nate McLaughlin, voted to recommend approval and a subsidy for the event. “Had I not gone to that TDC meeting I wouldn’t have gotten any word on what was going on,” Ericksen said. “It took me a while after that meeting to start understanding what it was all about and I think if the members of the TDC had listened a little better to the barrage of information that he had, I think they’d have had the same questions, even putting it in Palm Coast.”

Commissioner Charlie Ericksen. (© FlaglerLive)

Commissioner Charlie Ericksen. (© FlaglerLive)

By Friday, Ericksen was opposed to the event without reserve, and he spoke of it at length Saturday, after Coffey called him from a baseball field where Coffey’s son was playing, to tell the commissioner about the reversal.

“Here’s the Craig part of that,” Ericksen said, “he didn’t say that the county wouldn’t find a possible other site for them somewhere else in the county. In other words he said it’s not going to be in Princess Place but we’re still going to look some other place somewhere within the county if there’s another place to hold it.” Ericksen was skeptical even of that possibility, saying events of the sort are better suited for areas that have larger land-masses where disturbing the land is not an issue. He was also concerned about the races being “noted for leaving trash behind.”

Ericksen said he received 52 emails in opposition to the race as of Saturday morning, and he questioned the administration not bringing the race to the attention of the commission one way or another before it had gotten this far, because of the magnitude of the event. “If you’re going to bring in something that’s radically new,” Ericksens said, “you should get a sense from people before you go out and invest all this employee time and effort and even [County Attorney] Al Hadeed’s time for a contract. The answer would be that’s what we don’t want to be known for. I don’t see a benefit for Flagler County for some macho guys and girls that want to be tougher than Iron men. The county is half people 65 and over, it’s not the Daytona Beach 1950s and 60s style where you’ve got teenagers hanging around all the time.”

McLaughlin, who did not return a call Sunday, had already shown his support for the race with his vote on Wednesday. Commissioner Frank Meeker, in an hour-long interview Saturday, was adamant—not for or against the race at Princess Place, but against the way the administration pulled it from Princess Place before the issue came before the county commission.

“Where have we heard the facts?” Meeker said. “Is there a contract out? No. Have we seen a drawing of the race rout? No. Do we know what the obstacles look like? No. Have we seen a drawing of the obstacles? No. What are we basing this decision on? We’re basing it on 25 to 30 emails.” (The opposition, of course, was far broader than the emails in Meeker’s in-box.) He added: “I don’t mind killing the project. The issue is both sides never got a hearing in the sunshine before the county commission, and I think that’s wrong.”

Much of the momentum that added pressure on the administration to pull the race out of Princess Place grew from the “Protect Princess Place” page Kendall Clark-St. Jacques, a Palm Coast resident, created.

Kendall Clark-St. Jacques.

Kendall Clark-St. Jacques.

“I read the article on Wednesday night as I was going to sleep,” Clark-St. Jacques said. “It bothered me enough that it actually interfered with my sleep. I waited for somebody else to do something, and by Friday morning there didn’t seem to be any formal message of protest that anybody was leading. There was a lot of complaining but not any effort to change anything. That’s what led me to form the group to see where it would go. I think I started it at 7 o’clock in the morning, and by noon we had 700 members. I was doing all this on my mobile phone while I was traveling for work, so it was neat to watch it grow.”

Beside underscoring the growing influence of social media and online interactions on issues of public concern, the rapid movement, Clark-St. Jacques said, reflected a deep attachment to the preserve–an attachment the administration miscalculated by not gauging against the proposed race. “It seems like everybody viewed this particular event as an assault on a space that carries a lot of environmental and sentimental value to the citizens here,” Clark-St. Jacques said. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful piece of property. A lot of people refer to it as our crown jewel. I think that’s the truth and we saw that. We didn’t get just local attention. One of the people who worked hardest to build the group and get attention for it was out of St. Johns County.”

Clark-St. Jacques was also contacted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “People were paying attention, and I think they were angered, they felt that the powers that be at the county may have tried to slide this through out of the sunshine. They were taking registration, so it wasn’t going through the process.”

Beyond the preservation of Princess Place, Clark-St. Jacques said the experience should spur residents to remain active and examine the process–“how the right hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing,” she said. “That’s embarrassing. It’s troubling, because even if they had nothing to hide and even if this was going to be presented to the public through the sunshine, the way it was handled and the spin the county and a certain commissioner put in their responses to our inquiries raised a lot more questions than answers.”

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62 Responses for “Princess Place Saved Again: Flagler Pulls Extreme Race Out of Preserve and Looks Elsewhere”

  1. Frances Royals says:

    And THANK YOU, Flagler Live. You are appreciated.

  2. Why can they not use the Boggin Places?

    • boggin places would be perfect and the farmers could probably use the money..also lots of parking..great idea

    • Mike Regan says:

      Unsanctioned fun runs hold events at redneck cow pastures, that’s how people and athletes get sick from runoff and bacteria. This is a globally sponsored athletic event that’s held in State parks and preserves nationwide EVERY weekend, none have blacklisted Spartan Race. Palm Coast’s loss.. The venue would’ve been in exemplary state and residents, athletes children and vets could’ve greatly benefit from it. Sad.

  3. tulip says:

    [Selected as Comment of the Day in the Daily Briefing.–FL]

    As pleased as I am that the race won’t be at Princes Preserve, it seems to me that a bunch of sunshine laws were broken, as it appears evident that there were many phone calls and conversations amongst the commissioners and decisions made that weren’t made publicly. In fact this whole thing seemed to have been planned privately. I see that of the two M&M’s McClaughlin was for the event and I get the impression that Meeker was too.

    It was mentioned here in the article that the Ag center was a possibility. It is on the Edge of PP, would people be able to take advantage of free parking of both residential vehicles and event vehicles. Maybe that’s not a good idea. People have mentioned having it in the fairgrounds or land nearby. That sounds like a better idea.

    I certainly hope and pray a totally different contract is written up, there has been enough sneakiness and stupidity as it is, never mind giving away all the potential money and having to foot the expenses of putting a show like this on. It’s like having someone have a big fundraiser in your yard, but you pay the expenses. No way.

    I wish there was a person higher up in the county that could put a rein on Coffey and his shady dealings. Now that the TDC is in “county hands”, we have Dunn doing the same thing. It’s like Coffey is king and everyone else has to fall in line. Guess we’re going backwards to what the BOCC was like in the 80’s and 90’s.

  4. gary morris says:

    So happy to hear this beautiful , peaceful property will be spared. I am proud to know that a lot of people care about something more than a quick dollar. I love a happy ending.
    If you wonderful Foridians have any fight left in you please be aware that our STATE PARK system is under threat from our Governor and his D.E.P. secretary. If you follow Facebook page ” FLORIDA STATE PARKS IN PERIL” you will see the fight will never end.

  5. Thank god this was stopped. I love these races but Princess Place is pure untouched beauty. Primitive camping and fishing is all that should be allowed. If you have ever been and love nature you’ll understand. Plenty of other places in the county for these races.

    • I’m seeing that the problem the government is having is that they can’t make as much money using private property where a lot of other places are that can be used for these races, as opposed to using Princess Place. What were we just talking about with greed?

    • Angela, the county wasn’t going to make a cent from Spartan; it would cost us as taxpayers for water, electric, Internet, medical, police, etc. we wouldn’t get one cent from admission, parking, or entrance fees.

  6. Very infrequently do conservation efforts feel like a win. This is great news!

  7. Save the Princess says:

    Let this be a HUGE reminder of how and WHO NOT to vote for in the next county commission election !!!
    Proud to see Palm Coasters come together so QUICKLY to change “for the better” illegal deals made by money and power grubbing politicians.

    • Ms.B. in PC says:

      Absolutely. The only reason any elected official holds office is because WE put him/ her there. People forget that, and keep voting the same people in over and over…and then complain when they don’t act in the public interest.

  8. Algernon says:

    Kudos to Kendall Clark St.Jacques and to Adam Morley too for their efforts on this. Somewhere it was mentioned that some of the background paperwork that allowed Princess Place Preserve to be set up has limits on what can be done there, maybe for years to come. It will be interesting to learn more about that.

  9. Algernon says:

    I should have mentioned before an unsung heroine participating in the rescue is Thea Hein Mathen, who grew up here and works behind the scenes to help the environment, the culture, and the well being of Flagler County. Kudos to you too, Thea.

  10. Brad W says:

    BUT this is far from over. NOR should we think it over. There are MANY questions that need to be answered. The biggest one being IF there is no contract then why would an organization like Spartan Race begin selling tickets publicly and advertising the event? So who gave them the “nod” and the inference that things were a go? Mr. Coffey’s response was inadequate in my opinion. There should be little trust in the TDC now coming under the supervisions of Craig Coffey, and Nate McLaughlin does owe the County an explanation of his knowledge and why it was not made public prior to FlaglerLive bringing it to light? Do not let up the pressure on our County Commissioners to demand answers.

  11. Really? says:

    Really? Because of parking issues? Not because it was a stupid idea and a bad contract to begin with? VOTE THEM ALL OUT! Coffey formalized the announcement in a news release issued Sunday morning, though the release sought to paint his decision as resulting from what he called “some challenges, such as parking, that would be difficult to overcome.”

  12. tulip says:

    And also kudos to all the readers and residents who expressed their thoughts on the matter and with everyone’s input, the BOCC backed down. For once the public “won”.

  13. Jt says:

    Same old story….The County Administrator.
    As a result of him and STAFF , we’re stuck with a developer (who resides in Virginia) in the Hammock who is looking to compromise beautiful ‘old Florida’ making it a mega condo complex…DON’T let them do it to Princess Place.
    Commissioners, it’s time to stand up to those who advertise revenue, jobs etc etc BUT compromise this Community! Ask tough questions, you were elected by the residents of Flagler County. Please get it together and stop this madness.
    CA, Economic development employees, do your job ….get jobs, tax revenue growth without destroying the Communnity we call home. if you can’t do this, please resign..let the County hire someone who can do both. Residents are tired of being held hostage to this develop, get revenue at any cost.

  14. confidential says:

    Big Thank You to Flagler Live Pierre Tristam, Adam Morley, Thea Mathen, County Commissioners and all Flagler County resident taxpayers clamoring to have this event elsewhere, but in Princess Place Preserve.

  15. Edman says:

    “I don’t recall any of them saying they were recommending it goes somewhere else, it was all hell no not at princess place,” Meeker said.)

    Funny, he responded with his caned email message to this one I sent him:

    Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2015 1:46 PM
    To: Charles Ericksen Jr.; George Hanns; Nate McLaughlin; Frank Meeker; Barbara S. Revels
    Subject: Princess Place

    Please kill the proposal to use this park for an obstacle race. It is not worth it and flies in the face of efforts to study this pristine estuary by GTMNEER. I’m sure there are better locations in the western part of the county that already hold such “mudder” events.

    He either does not carefully read his emails or lies to the press.

  16. THE VOICE OF REASON says:

    It was an idiotic idea in the first place. And speaks volumes about how out of touch county government is with the people it’s supposed to serve.

  17. Nature lover says:

    The best place to have Spartan race would be Town Center at Palm Coast where all those lands are sitting empty. Plenty of space for runners & spectators. And hotel & restaurant biz will benefit greatly. If only the owners of it would agree. Just a thought. Thank you everyone for protecting Princess Place. Plenty of people emailed and called everyone they could think of starting off Wednesday.

  18. Good news. Now let’s vote them out of office!!!!

  19. What a joke. This town once again proves its incompetence. Missing out on a great event with a ton of exposure.

    • Brad West says:

      In most cases, I’d agree with you Fred. But in this case it’s far far more than this event. I do agree with you on the incompetence part . . . on the part of our County Commission, County Manager, and Matt Dunn (VP of the TDC). It sounds like a great event to have but the larger questions are about a contract that supposedly was not entered into and an outside organization that is now advertising and taking reservation for the event? Why wasn’t this brought before the Commission since it involved County-owned environmentally protected land? Both scenarios (having the race or not having the race) exposes the County to major lawsuits because of the incompetence in the dealings. Why is Craig Coffey citing a “parking review” (on a Saturday no less?) as a reason for the cancellation?

      In my opinion, this is along the lines of the old Bunnell Hospital purchase for the Sheriff’s office and this junk with this group needs to stop because they are wasting a ton of our money. Our County Government is extremely dysfunctional and it’s time it stops. Our City Government provides us with the majority of our services on half of the tax dollars and our City Council Members are far more in-tune to the community at a fifth of the salary. Enough is enough.

    • Tree Hugger says:

      Flagler County, Palm Coast doesn’t need that kind of exposure. In the past two months we’ve been featured on HGTV and FYI networks regarding real-estate, beaches, intercostal and green trails. What’s even funnier is in the past month Flagler County Palm Coast has been fictionally used in the hit primetime show “The Last Ship” where they depict scenes in our conservation areas and driving around in our City trucks. In the past we were listed first as the fast growing county in the US and later the fastest growing City. Your either a high school or college kid who for is leaving here, or just doesn’t live here at all, same for “Mike Regan”. It’s A PRESERVE when you drive through (slowly) or park if one is observant you can sense the air quality in there is different. Before you even get to the obstacles and set up of the course that number of people and vehicles on that property is absurd. Hey, Kendall set up an annual Princess Place Preserve day where we can contribute, donations and have fundraisers to make it even more ECO friendly and inviting? Seems like you have the backbone for this.

  20. Layla says:

    Meeker says we have no contract, yet Spartan is STILL advertising Princess Place as the venue on their site. The people making these decisions are NOT elected officials and they are using our money to do this. I don’t think you’ll find anybody in this town who thinks that’s alright. Coffey and Dunn are NOT accountable to the taxpayers here.

    How did this happen? I think we’d all like to know. And while we’re at it, when are the contracts on these two individuals up for renewal?

  21. Steve Cole says:

    Common sense prevails! Woot!!

  22. WISHFUL THINKING says:

    Without the divine intervention of Flagler Live and the thousands of Flagler residents who READ Flagler Live this mud race probably could have just sailed through a County Commission ‘Consent Agenda’ like 85% of most big deals do.. Most of the commissioners might have not even realized the ‘sludge’ between the lines….

  23. Remember this when the elections come up. There are many things being done without making the public know..

  24. Mike says:

    My emails to the commissioners did not object to Spartan or an event in Flagler County. I objected to the use of Princess Place and the method that was used to get this event.
    ” I have nothing against Spartan, but fail to see why some other locations were not presented. We do not have to approve the contract, and should not. Why this was not done at a public meeting, with notice of the planned agenda, damages the credibility of all those directly involved. And those that were not involved should not jump on the bandwagon. ”
    Also, paying a for profit company and giving up all we were giving them made no sense.
    Thanks to everyone who spoke up.

  25. Marlee says:

    Looking for another location?
    Stay away from our Preserves!

  26. groot says:

    http://www.thedunnagency.us/
    Did not see Flagler County listed as a client but the site is partly down now. Is or was Mr Dunn a public employee or a consultant? Spartan will no doubt go elsewhere now. Good riddance Spartan.

  27. Edith Campins says:

    Someone better tell Spartan, because as of 9:31 this morning they re still taking applications for the race…ar Princess Place

  28. Yellowstone says:

    Eventually Princess Place will, along with kayaks and camping, have a zip-line course, swimming pool, and tennis courts. All at Flagler County’s taxpayer expense.

    Oh, forgot . . . membership fees and a gated toll booth on North Old Kings Road.

    Then the condo developers move in with promises of jobs, new tax revenue, and more to encourage tourism.

  29. Obama 2015 says:

    Agriculture Museum and Town Center would be perfect places for this.

  30. Sherry E says:

    This totally mismanaged situation needs to be thoroughly investigated and a multitude of questions asked in these comments need to be answered. . . and appropriate actions taken. Although Flaglerlive will likely continue its excellent investigative journalism, we should all make our concerns and questions “directly” heard by our county commissioners. Keep those emails and phone calls going! The commissioners can pretend that they do not read Flaglerlive, but they cannot completely ignore direct correspondence. . . if they want to be elected again.

    Of course Matt Dunn and Craig Coffey are scrambling to find another place for this event. . . those misguided representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and county government led Spartan to believe this was a “done deal”. Now, those two are still receiving a pay check from our tax dollars, while they are doing damage control of this disaster . . . instead of putting their energies into more beneficial projects for our community.

    Hopefully our county attorney is also scrambling to save us from the need of wasting thousands of tax payer’s hard earned money in defending against a possible law suit from Spartan.

    Matt Dunn’s obvious conflict of interest also needs to be immediately addressed. . . in my mind, he needs to be dismissed from this position, and Craig Coffey needs to be held accountable for his participation in this fiasco.

    The written description of the responsibilities and AUTHORITY of these two positions need to be reviewed and if necessary rewritten. Also, the “approval process” for projects of this nature and magnitude need to be reviewed in detail and possibly rewritten as well. . . along with appropriate training. With the TDC coming in under the umbrella of the county government, this is the perfect time to do these things.

    Contact our county commissioners directly and let’s require that they ACT to keep this kind of situation from ever happening again.

  31. KB63 says:

    Flaglerlive – first thank you for bringing this thing to everyone’s attention and what an effort everyone gave it all weekend. Secondly, as of 10:25 today (Monday 8/24) Spartan is still advertising it on their website. We know that a website can be changed in about 5 minutes by the administrator from anywhere. So when is Coffey going to tell Spartan the race won’t be at Princess Place? Also, as you know, a lot of us want to know what happened here. Who gave Spartan the go ahead, Sunshine Law violations, etc. Finally, the race not being held due to “parking issues” is pretty much a slap in the face to the over 1000 people who voiced their opinion all weekend and wrote emails to the Commissioners. I’m pretty sure parking was the last reason on the list. Hope you can get to the bottom of it.

  32. Patriot76 says:

    It’s funny how we are celebrating a minority of maybe 100 people circumventing the democratic process in their own way by pulling for what they believe to be a “flood” of opposition emails to 5 Commissioners to stop a possible contract before it is even drafted and proposed to the Commission.

    I’m a lifelong Democrat, conservationist, and classical liberal, but it pains me to see those who allow emotions to cloud judgement all the meanwhile eliminating any possibility for facts to play out. If you call a local government pulling something from healthy debate because of a show of opposition by a small group of vocal activists “Democracy” than you can have it.

    I didn’t necessarily support the Preserve being used for such an event, but I do oppose the quickly deteriorating democratic process in this County. That goes for both sides of the isle – government administration and citizens alike

  33. Sherry E says:

    Here is the email I sent to all the commissioners this morning. . . and Commissioner Ericksen’s reply;

    Hello Commissioner Ericksen,

    Your constituents still have many questions and concerns regarding how this situation unfolded and promises that inappropriately may have been made to Spartan by unauthorized persons. We would like to see actions by our county commission taken to make sure this kind of “behind the scenes” bargaining is put to a halt. Here are some observations and suggestions I’ve submitted to the comments section of Flaglerlive this morning:

    This totally mismanaged situation needs to be thoroughly investigated and a multitude of questions asked in these comments need to be answered. . . and appropriate actions taken. Although Flaglerlive will likely continue its excellent investigative journalism, we should all make our concerns and questions “directly” heard by our county commissioners. Keep those emails and phone calls going! The commissioners can pretend that they do not read Flaglerlive, but they cannot completely ignore direct correspondence. . . if they want to be elected again.

    Of course Matt Dunn and Craig Coffey are scrambling to find another place for this event. . . those misguided representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and county government led Spartan to believe this was a “done deal”. Now, those two are still receiving a pay check from our tax dollars, while they are doing damage control of this disaster . . . instead of putting their energies into more beneficial projects for our community.

    Hopefully our county attorney is also scrambling to save us from the need of wasting thousands of tax payer’s hard earned money in defending against a possible law suit from Spartan.

    Matt Dunn’s obvious conflict of interest also needs to be immediately addressed. . . in my mind, he needs to be dismissed from this position, and Craig Coffey needs to be held accountable for his participation in this fiasco.

    The written description of the responsibilities and AUTHORITY of these two positions need to be reviewed and if necessary rewritten. Also, the “approval process” for projects of this nature and magnitude need to be reviewed in detail and possibly rewritten as well. . . along with appropriate training. With the TDC coming in under the umbrella of the county government, this is the perfect time to do these things.
    Contact our county commissioners directly and let’s require that they ACT to keep this kind of situation from ever happening again.

    Here is the (copy and pasted) reply from Commissioner Ericksen:

    I agree, Good points.
    I will insist that all are answered,

    Ericksen

    • Oldseadog says:

      Commissioner Erickson has my confidence. The ordeal is over, but changes just have to be
      made in who runs the political show here in Flagler County. I can only look way back to when
      I was delighted to have to study classical thoughts such as:

      “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

      Hamlet (1.4), Marcellus to Horatio

      This line spoken by Marcellus (and not Hamlet as is commonly believed) is one of the most recognizable lines in all of Shakespeare’s works……

      I trust those whom we chose to represent us, get together and TAKE CHARGE and make needed changes that this never happens again. Those whom we voted in that can not see why citizens are so
      upset by this issue, will indeed be VOTED OUT when up for re-election.

  34. Frances Royals says:

    If these events are being held in preserves nationwide, it is very very sad indeed. Preserves are not tourist attractions like Disney. That is why they are called preserves. I hope money does not become the driving force behind our parks and preserves that Flagler County owns. I’m not against events being brought to the County to attract tourism, but it is really not up to the County to provide county lands for the events, subsidize them, or provide county staff to clean up after them. That needs to come out of THEIR profits. Especially county lands that are supposed to be passive recreational areas as outlined in their management plans. I hope all the management plans are not now getting changed to allow this. I thank all the people, the Commissioners, and Flagler Live for helping stop the Princess Place races.

  35. YankeeExPat says:

    As of 1:30 PM Monday August 24th 2015. Spartan Racing is still taking registration for the event.

  36. SW says:

    Leave the Nature Preserve alone

  37. Edith Campins says:

    To Patriot 76, you should be grateful that locals residents got involved. If you’d bother to look into the details of this farce you would understand why we united to stop it.

    Even now, Mr. Coffey’s announcement beggars the imagination. His statement that Spartan was prepared to spend $800,000 on this is utterly ridiculous. Even if 6,000 people registered at the top price that would only bring in $654,000. Even if if they made another $100,000 from the vendors they would still be losing money. Last I saw they were in business to make money.

    Do you have any idea how many tax dollars Dunn and Coffey were planning to spend on this? As for the supposed publicity, it is titled the Jacksonville Race. I have yet to see them put a number on what we were going to get in return for our tax dollars and sacrificing Princess Place.

  38. Marlee says:

    Yes…it is still up on the Spartan website:

    Located at Princess Place Preserve | 2500 Princess Place Road, Palm Coast, FL 32137

    http://www.spartan.com/en/race/detail/1100/overview

    $10 per car. $20 per van. $50 per bus or RV. Cash only. Pay as you enter.

    The Reebok Spartan Super: This is our middle distance course. With a longer distance than the Sprint and more obstacles, the Super will test your endurance, perseverance and grit. The 8+ Mile Super packs more than 25 Signature Spartan Obstacles through tougher and more rugged terrain. The Super is the test en route to your Spartan TRIFECTA.

  39. Patriot76 says:

    So the fact that this never made it to the Board to be discussed is why everyone believes that sunshine laws were broken? Does everyone here realize that it was their emails and banter that stopped it from going before the commission? Ironic no?

  40. tulip says:

    To Patriot 76 The reason it seems that the sunshine laws were broken is because Coffey was calling the commissioners and they all were talking back and for the and when Coffey found out that 3 of them were going to vote no, that ended the discussion, leaving only Nate & Meeker for yes votes. No discussion or vote was done in public.

    • Jt says:

      Meeker was the last minute ‘yes’ vote, (2am in the morning) for this Hotel in the Hammock. It had no financing (still does not ) water or sewage capacity plus multiple other ‘loose ends’. He was easy prey & fell in Developer trap, along with all the others, as they all neglected to ask the right questions and put restrictions around any approval. (Chamber included).

      Currently we’re soliciting the World to please fund this ‘white elephant’ project . Enough said…..

      On a brighter note, thank goodness princess place project was stopped….

      Sadly, the job performance plans of the CA, staff , others,,, possibly directs them to find stuff like this so we can get revenue and jobs at any cost. Key question—who is driving these behaviors? Commissioners or is the CA and staff driving this? Palm Coast voters want to know!

  41. Spot On says:

    Coffey has been peeing in everyone’s ear for a long time and making them think it’s raining. His actions have shown the board of commissions are asleep at the wheel, inept, or just don’t care. It’s about time they wake up, step up to the plate, take charge and be responsible. What A disgrace!

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