EATONVILLE, Fla. - A beloved former prep school is now dividing an Orange County town.
When the Hungerford Prep School in Eatonville closed, the property was donated to the school district with the understanding that it would be used for education.
But the land could be used for retail stores instead.
Meanwhile, the mayor and city council haven’t been able to agree on what to do next with this prime piece of land just off of I-4.
But one Eatonville family says
it should have a big say in what happens with it.
“It's a beautiful thing,” said James Mosley, a descendent of the land’s donors. “A hundred and twenty-five years ago, my grandparents were able to have land to do this for the town.”
Mosley's great grandparents made sure their legacy would be lasting; they donated more than 99 acres of land to the Orange County School District in hopes of educating generations of children.
But in 2010, Hungerford Prep School was closed — and never reopened.
“It’s sad,” Mosley said. “All I can say (is) it’s sad.”
Now surviving members of Mosley’s family feel disrespected.
The district has agreed to sell the donated land to the town by 2015 for millions of dollars to build a mixed use development.
“We need economic development; we need education also,” said Eatonville Mayor Bruce Mount.
But the mayor and town councilors are at odds.
Mount says the goal is to deliver a dream downtown, but Mosley's dream of education will die if the councilors decide to tear down the old school, leaving a big piece of the historic town without a cornerstone.
“We can’t tear our history down; we can’t keep tearing it down,” Mount said.
How many millions of dollars this land is worth is still under appraisal.