State land sale garners more than $15 million for conservation purchases

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Today, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands closed on the sale of A.G. Holley. The approximately 79.91-acre parcel of improved state-owned non-conservation land was the site of a former state hospital, which closed in 2012. Governor Scott and the Board of Trustees voted to approve the sale of this property on March 6, 2014, to Southeast Legacy Investments, LLC for $15.6 million.

“The closing of the A.G. Holley sale is a significant achievement in our endeavor to purchase high-priority conservation land,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “The substantial revenue coming from this sale alone will allow the department to fund crucial Florida Forever projects.”

The department is in the process of selling many state-owned, surplus, non-conservation lands to increase the budget for future purchases of environmentally sensitive conservation lands. The 2014-2015 Florida Legislature gave DEP spending authority to utilize up to $40 million of the proceeds of non-conservation land sales to acquire valuable land needed for conservation and public recreation.

“It is exciting to see this sale come to fruition knowing how the sale of non-conservation lands will benefit Florida’s precious resources and will assist the town of Lantana in developing a new public sports complex,” said Kelley Boree, director of DEP’s Division of State Lands. “This closing, along with additional imminent sales, will amplify our ability to acquire environmentally sensitive lands.”

Multiple land sales are anticipated to close over the next several months for a total of approximately $43 million. Approximately $22 million will be collected from the sale of four correctional institutes located in Hendry, Broward, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties. The facilities were closed due to correctional institute consolidations.

“I am delighted to know that the sale of the A.G. Holley property will be used to preserve Florida’s natural beauty as well as promote physical activity with a new sports complex,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “This milestone demonstrates the collaboration and responsiveness of partners across our state who are committed to the health of Florida’s families and the preservation of our environment.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.