ALACHUA COUNTY - In July 2009, Alachua County purchased two environmentally significant properties using funds from the Wild Spaces and Public Places Local Government Infrastructure Surtax. The 40-acre Gladstone Property was jointly acquired with the St. John's River Water Management District and closes a hole in the District's 6,000-acre Newnans Lake and Gum Root Swamp Conservation Areas in eastern Alachua County. The 92-acre Edwards property is on the south rim of Paynes Prairie State Park and was part of a larger purchase of 280 acres involving the District, the State Recreation and Park Service and the City of Gainesville. Both tracts will be managed by the Countyï¿½s acquisition partners as new units of their respective preserves.
The Wild Spaces and Public Places Surtax was approved by the voters in the November 2008 elections, and creates an estimated $15 million to continue the efforts of the successful Alachua County Forever land conservation program. The remaining $15 million is earmarked for various Municipal recreation projects and a senior center.
"We are fortunate to have a community that recognizes the important role that green spaces and recreational opportunities play in maintaining our quality of life," said Ramesh Buch, Alachua County Forever Program Manager. "With the new conservation funds, we will be able to conserve and pass on to our children the best of our natural heritage that will not only protect habitats for wildlife, but also preserve the ecological functions that sustains our human community."
Alachua County Forever was created by the voters in 2000. It was initially funded through a 0.25 mill property tax capped at a total of $29 million. To date the County has used $27 million of local dollars to leverage $52 million of federal, State and private funds to protect 17,400 acres of property.
For more information, contact Ramesh Buch at (352) 264-6800, or visit http://www.alachuacountyforever.us.