On May 10, 2007, you may have read the following paragraph in the Winter Haven Chamber Blog, the de-facto CSX info source:
In a letter dated April 12, 2006, Michael McDaniel, Regional Planning Administrator for DCA, wrote in reply to the request: “The Department has determined that the CSX Intermodal Logistics Center development as proposed in your request for a clearance letter, is not required to undergo DRI review.” — CSX and 318 Acres…
Thirteen months after the letter and 18 days after the post (May 29, 2007) the DCA announced there would be a DRI after all. Winter Haven and CSX announced they would welcome the DRI. Of course they would. They had been planning for it for over a year.
Take a look at the 2006-2007 Winter Haven budget (pdf). I’ll quote two important pieces:
At its July 10, 2006 meeting, the City Commission approved the Strategic Plan for 2006/2007 established at the Commission/Staff Retreat. The Plan focused on seven key components that make for a Premier City.
Economic Development – Goal No. 1- Insure DRI is approved by DCA by January 2008.
The FY 2007 budget funds a position with the title Strategic Initiatives Director. One of the principal duties of this position is to keep the CSX project on track by ensuring that the City meets and resolves all obstacles for the successful completion of this project. This position will assist CSX where possible with submittal and approval of the DRI.
Two months after the DCA gives CSX a pass on submitting for a DRI, and while Winter Haven was publicly assuring everyone there wasn’t a need for the process, the city was obviously preparing for it. It was so important that Winter Haven officials considered it their number one economic development goal.
If you look at the budget’s organizational chart you’ll see the Strategic Initiatives Director was already identified as Pete Chichetto. He was hired by the city in 2002 as the city planning manager, and his most recent title was Development Services Director.