Florida's Plan: Sell Land So It Can ... Buy Land

Some 5K acres may be up for grabs to raise $50M for other properties

By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 5, 2013 11:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Florida may be about to put a whole lot of land up for sale. The goal: sell off the less significant stuff—some 5,000 acres of beaches, forests, and wetlands originally bought to keep out of development—to raise $50 million to buy land deemed more important to save, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Department of Environmental Protection has drummed up a list of 160 properties on the chopping block, including a good chunk of the Green Swamp, and some are raising eyebrows in the state known for its history of land and water conservation.

"It's an outrage," said one woman, who raised money to buy 1,100 acres for a park named after her late son—five acres of which may soon have a price tag. "To me, the entire concept of selling off conservation land to buy conservation land is not a good idea." A DEP rep, however, said the property list is preliminary, and nothing will be sold until public hearings are held this fall. And even after clearing Gov. Rick Scott and the state's Cabinet, local governments and universities will get the first shot at the land. A petition that would force the state to spend a third of the proceeds on land conservation has so far gained 200,000 signatures, WCTV reports.

In this Nov. 18, 2011 photo, a section in the wetland area of Kissimmee, Fla., which straddles the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, is seen.
In this Nov. 18, 2011 photo, a section in the wetland area of Kissimmee, Fla., which straddles the headwaters of the Everglades ecosystem, is seen.   (AP Photo/Julie Fletcher)
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