Wooded area

The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners has voted to purchase roughly 4,000 acres from the Weyerhaeuser Company—an acquisition poised to become the largest in the history of the Alachua County Forever land conservation program. 

The property is being purchased with funds from Wild Spaces and Public Places and is scheduled to close in August. Funding for the Alachua County Forever program is used to protect lands for water quality, wildlife habitat, and natural areas suitable for resource-based recreation.

The property, known as the Fox Pen Connector, lies in the southeast corner of the county. It connects the county’s 1,861-acre Lochloosa Slough Preserve to the south with the 473-acre Fox Pen Preserve to the north.

“The Fox Pen Connector is a beautiful and vital new land conservation acquisition for the County,” said BOCC Chair Ken Cornell. “This purchase will protect the natural ecology and creates a much needed corridor for wildlife.”

Together with other contiguous public lands, the property will be part of a protected corridor of more than 10,000 acres. The purchase agreement with the Weyerhaeuser Company calls for the county to pay $2,690 per surveyed acre, making the total sales price $10,748,352.30. Weyerhaeuser has agreed to pay $60,000 toward the cost of the survey.

The board discussed and approved the purchase at its Tuesday meeting

Over 40 percent of the property is classified as wetlands, including both dense hardwood swamps and shallow, open-water ponds. These areas account for much of the property’s ecological value. The uplands are dominated by pine plantations that will be restored to more natural plant communities under the county’s management.

Final plans for the restoration and recreational use of the property will be drafted once the transaction is complete. 

(7) comments

Guest

The Alachua County Commissioner’s just provided the County Manager Ms Lieberman and the county attorney Miss Torres both received $15,000 in raises. Meanwhile we’re $96 million behind on road repairs. Which costs the taxpayers even more when their vehicles get damaged by the pot holes.

Guest

I agree also what a wasted tax for Wild Spaces and Public Places. What’s the point to have zoning and planning department if the tax payers purchase all the land. Being in real estate myself for four decades I’ve never seen any county or city spend so much time taking land off of tax rolls. Now I see why Alachua County residents are upset with local government. I strongly agree fix the roads and have one Experience county manager not five of them. Save the local springs no bottle water companies now that a real issue!

Guest

Alachua County does have a zoning and planning department with only few code enforcement officers for the entire department so there isn’t a lot of zoning enforcement being done. Keep Alachua County Beautiful it’s just lip service unless you staff the department correctly.

Guest

Wild Spaces and Public Places tax isn’t needed. What is needed is road repairs and tax Relief to Alachua county citizens. Save Alachua County from these radical commissioners. Invest in food banks and Mental health programs and Inflation issues.

Guest

We are $96 million behind on road repair and $10 million behind on building maintenance. But the Of County commissioners thinks it’s a good idea to take more property off the tax rolls which would never be built on. These type of decisions are very Upsetting to taxpayers. FIX YOUR Infrastructure people It’s crumbling around us literally I drive these roads every day it’s embarrassing.

Guest

Why don't you move to Miami where there's plenty of infrastructure and no nature? At one point Miami was a swamp too. Thousands of people move into Florida every day. The tax base will grow. But eventually developers will come for this land. You're lucky to live in a place that hasn't been turned into a concrete pancake.

Guest

That’s why you have a current planning and zoning department and have a development review committee . Alachua County even has a its own EPD department. So to purchase all this worthless Swamp land is not necessary and you can protect it with county codes so taking it off of tax rolls is not necessary . I do agree Alachua County needs to repair its crumbling Infrastructure. Just look at 235A, that road is a safety issue. I feel so sorry for the local residence that have to drive that road every day.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.