Copyright (C) 2004 Jesse Hardy, All rights reserved



Jesse Hardy

Fighting to keep his land

Thursday,
October 30,
2014




Who is
Jesse Hardy


His Story


The Ballad of Jesse Hardy


Interview with Jesse



Thursday,
October 30,
2014




Who is
Jesse Hardy


His Story


The Ballad of Jesse Hardy


Interview with Jesse


A Dream Lost

Jesse Hardy became disabled from a chopper jump after 14 years of service as a U.S. Navy Seal. In civilian life, he became involved in real estate. In those days, the best time to buy Florida property was during rainy season, exposing the high, dry land. In 1976, Hardy bought 160 acres in Collier County less than two miles south of the east-west corridor of I-75.

It is recorded as being 13-to-14-feet above sea level.

Jesse got the idea of creating 20-acre fish ponds for families to visit, camp and fish. He obtained necessary permits from the county and state, and proceeded to dig, selling the quality limestone to the county for road fill. A win-win situation.
Jesse and Tommy
His hopes and dreams for Tommy's future were running high.

Those who helped him with the permitting had a change of heart. The 8.5 billion dollar Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP) includes deconstruction of roads and plugging canals (originally built to drain the land and direct water to the Gulf). The intent of the project is to restore natural water flows. The government proceeded to buy out all privately owned land in South Golden Gate Estates, formerly planned for housing developments. Hardy, the last lone holdout realized that the Northern-most point of CERP is some eight miles south of his property, and that flooding cannot occur unless his 160 acres is leveled, which isn't in the plan.

Hardy and his son lived a primitive life with all the necessary commodities, clean water and air, a generator for refrigeration, air conditioning and heating. This was his choice. He valued his land above any material things in life, and was generous and willing to share his fortune with families, in an education process of days gone by.
Pond
Jesse standing in front of his stocked pond.

Hardy had one of his finished lakes stocked with fish and he and Tommy enjoyed their time fishing and swimming. A remarkable feat, since Tommy was born with hydrocephalus and diagnosed with the inability to ever walk. His grandmother asked Hardy to take him in and care for him, as cancer would soon be taking her life.

Today, Tommy attends school, rides a bike and performs like any boy, thanks to Hardy's custodial love and patient willingness.

For years, Jesse Hardy fought with all his might to hang on to his homesteaded property. In the end, at the last of twelve hours of negotiations, Hardy signed over his property to the state. He was beat and broken.

The state paid him 4.95 million dollars for his 160 acres with lakes and limestone deposits. Nowhere in Florida can Jesse buy another 160 acres, and certainly not with leftover cash after attorney fees. About half of his gains were spent on the purchase of a 2-acre lot with a modest home in Collier County.
Stocked Pond
His dream of aquaculture farming and family camping for Tommy's future, is now lost.

The 55,000 acres called Southern Golden Gate Estates, South blocks, were purchased with tax dollars. Condemnation of 200 miles of roads, along with 25 or 30 bridges, is just a part of the growing 8.5 billion dollar project approved by voters as "Florida Forever Project" in 1999.

Program details eluded the minds of voters, as did the expected overruns and no guaranteed results in achieving the desired outcome. In the meantime, private property is taken, not just by eminent domain, but by harassment, attorney fees, forced wetlands, mitigation fees, and saving endangered species for environmental and state control.

Mary F. Stump
Cape Coral, FL






Jesse Speaks Out


Articles about Jesse


Letters to the Editor


Legal
Document


Contact Jesse

Home | Webmaster

Copyright © 2004-2006 Jesse Hardy, All rights reserved







Jesse Speaks Out


Articles about Jesse


Letters to the Editor


Legal
Document


Contact Jesse

Home | Webmaster

Copyright © 2004-2006 Jesse Hardy, All rights reserved