FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Karen Forsyth, Lee County Lands Division
CONSERVATION 20/20: IN LINE FOR STATE GRANT 3RD YEAR IN A ROW
FORT MYERS, Fla. (December 24, 2003) - For the third consecutive year, Lee County is in line to receive reimbursement from the state for Conservation 20/20 lands the county has purchased.
In all, the county will have received $9.1 million in state funding for the purchases over the last three years, thanks in part to the hard work of the county's County Lands Division, Parks & Recreation Department and grant writer Mindy Collier.
Part of what's known as the Prairie Pine Preserve - a 2,700-acre preserve in North Fort Myers, north of Del Prado Extension between I-75 and U.S. 41 - has been officially placed on the "approved" list for the 2003 Florida Communities Trust (FCT) Grants.
The county purchased the original 2,389 acres of the preserve in April 2001 for $6.35 million. It added an adjacent 320 acres for $5.46 million in August of this year. The FCT reimbursement of $2.73 million is for the added 320 acres. Other Conservation 20/20 parcels that have received funding from the state include:
Bunche Beach Preserve (700 acres) - fronting Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, located south of Summerlin Road and east and west of John Morris Road; was purchased in August 2001 for $6.4 million. FCT reimbursement was $3.2 million.
Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve (1,115 acres) - north shore of Caloosahatchee River east and west of I-75; was purchased in December 2000 for $6.4 million. FCT reimbursement was $3.2 million.
The Florida Communities Trust Florida Communities Trust (FCT) is a state land acquisition grant program housed at the Florida Department of Community Affairs. FCT provides funding to local governments and eligible non-profit environmental organizations for acquisition of community-based parks, open space and greenways that further outdoor recreation and natural resource protection needs identified in local government comprehensive plans. Matching and full grants for land acquisition projects are provided to communities through an annual competitive application cycle. Approximately $66 million is available to eligible applicants each year.
Lee County's Conservation 20/20 Program is funded through a property tax of 50 cents for every $1,000 of taxable property value. Conservation 20/20 is a willing seller program to acquire and manage land critical to help sustain: 1) water supply and water quality; 2) flood protection; 3) wildlife habitat; and 4) passive recreation. It is overseen by Lee County taxpayers through the Conservation Lands Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee (CLASAC or Conservation 20/20 Advisory Committee), with the help of the Board of Lee County Commissioners and county government staff.
Since its inception in November 1996, the program has purchased 11,271 acres of environmentally sensitive land for long-term preservation at a cost of $68.3 million.