MARIANNA, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Dozier School for Boy shut down in 2011, but recently more of the campus' infamous history is being discovered. A pollution test was conducted on the property which pointed to the possibility of 27 more graves on the school grounds.
“It’s not that they are grave sites, it just gives the appearance that they possibly are grave sites," said Marianna's City Manager Jim Dean.
Dean says he wants people to know there's more to the area than the Dozier Institution.
“Whenever you think about Jackson County and the City of Marianna, we don’t want people thinking about the Dozier issue," said Dean.
County Commissioner Clint Pate says even if they are grave sites, they might not hold human remains.
“Could be an animal, I don’t know. I think at one time they did have a dairy on the property or something," said Pate.
While Pate says he hopes the findings are nothing, he says these anomalies are keeping the area from moving forward.
“I thought they had checked everything and everything was clear and that black cloud was gone because we’ve got some big plans for the property," said Pate.
The county recently acquired the property, which spans more the 1,200 acres.
“We’ve got some manufacturing companies that are looking at possibly coming to Jackson County, the Sheriff's Department is moving since they had damage to their building, they’re moving to some of the facility there now," said Pate.
“There’s a lot of positive things that are happening out there, it’s not all negative," said Dean.
And there's talk of using some of the property for a different type of campus.
“One of the projects that is being moved forward is the potential of a facility that would provide training and education for children with autism," said Dean.
While plans to move forward aren't set in stone yet, the governor said in a letter to county officials he's directing four state agencies to work with Jackson County officials to help the area push this black cloud away.
Attached is the letter from the governor.