Marianna- Marianna Mayor, Paul Donofro Jr. described the ongoing investigation into bodies buried on Boot Hill at the Dozier School for Boys an "unfair association".
"The city of Marianna has never managed that facility" he explained. "Its always been a state managed facility and what went on out there- good, bad or indifferent- had nothing to do with this community. It's always been a stand a lone entity. But, because it's geographically located in the city of Marianna, we're unfortunately associated with that bad perception, and I think its not a good thing for this community."
Donofro said the dig was a deterrent from tourism and marketing efforts the community had been working to develop.
"It's a little bit of a negative spin on things that have unfortunately been cast upon us. The quicker this whole issue can be resolved and be finished, the quicker that we can move on" he told us.
And by 'moving on' Donofro meant economically- as in, on with potential businesses looking to develop in Jackson County.
"I heard from our city manager that there was some type of developer who had some idea of developing [the land] as some type of amusement park" Donofro said.
Both the city and county had considered taking on the property at one time, but determined maintenance costs would be too high.
"Ideally, what you'd like to see is a private developer come in, buy that property from the state and use private capital to develop it. Whether [it's developed for] recreational, commercial [purposes]- and put that property back on the tax rolls.
There wasn't a definite date as to when the exhumations would begin, but because of the cabinet's decision to grant USF's request, Donofro knew it could be years before the local community could see any developments on Dozier's campus.