ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) Governing Board funded 20 of the record 118 applications submitted this year. Alachua County Forever, the County land conservation program, submitted three applications; two of which were funded.
"We are excited about our success again this year and grateful for our strong partnerships," said Ramesh Buch, Program Manager of Alachua County Forever. "The County is keeping its commitment to leveraging local investment. Including these two grants, Alachua County Forever has successfully applied for over $18 million from FCT alone since 2002. It brings the total in partnership funding to $43 million to match our local investment of $23 million."
The Levy Prairie project at 3,317 acres is one of the largest ever funded by FCT. The State's $3 million will match the County's $1.2 million and the seller's $800,000 donation to acquire this critical property. It was submitted in partnership with the Conservation Trust for Florida. FCT awarded this project the maximum 10 Project Excellence points.
The 675-acre Phifer Flatwoods project was submitted in partnership with Alachua Conservation Trust. FCT is awarding Alachua County $1.2 million to reimburse the nearly $3 million purchase price. FCT also awarded this project the maximum 10 Project Excellence points.
Alachua County's third application, Lake Alto, was not selected. It would have protected of over 671 acres of Lake Alto shoreline and watershed and provide wildlife connectivity to conservation areas north and south along the lake shoreline. FCT awarded this project 8 Project Excellence points.
A total of $272 million was requested by all applicants. The annual appropriation for these project is $66 million. The funding break point occurred in projects receiving 170 points, 5 points higher than last year's funding cycle, and four fewer projects were funded.
Also at the meeting, FCT announced the winners of their annual photo contest. Two local photographers were among the winners: Larry Kohrnak's "Barr Hammock Sunset" and Mac Stone's "Barr Hammock Kayaker" and "Barr Hammock Lilypads" took top honors.
For final scores, project information and photo contest photos go to the Alachua County Forever website at: http://www.alachuacounty.us/government/depts/epd/land/ or for more information contact Ramesh Buch, Program Manager of Alachua County Forever, at 352-264-6800.