The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously authorized spending around $2.5 million to buy more than 650 acres of conservation land.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the BOCC authorized Alachua County Forever to go ahead with two land purchases, using money from the Wild Spaces Public Places surtax.
One sale will buy approximately 310 acres on Lake Alto near Waldo from the Kahn Dinh Trust for an estimated $363,000. The county approved $485,675 for the purchase and the total includes the purchase price, a boundary survey, legal and property transfer fees and a 10% contingency fund.
The property, which is adjacent to the county’s Lake Alto Preserve and includes a half mile of lake frontage, has been on the county’s active acquisition list since the mid-2000s, said Andi Christman, a county program manager for land conservation and management.
A portion of the property also is adjacent to the Waldo city limits.
“I think this is a real opportunity to partner with the city of Waldo to create an economic investment for them, a real destination, and a place where people can enjoy what I think is one of the most beautiful areas,” said Commissioner Mary Alford, in making the motion to approve the purchase.
Commissioner and BOCC Chair Anna Prizza said that following the purchase she hopes the county’s parks and recreation department and the conservation team can work together along with the city of Waldo to improve access to the property, especially the lake front, and clean up litter on the property’s main access road.
The Alachua Conservation Trust also is negotiating the purchase of close to 12 acres of adjoining property for $57,000, Christman said.
A second purchase would buy approximately 350 acres from Ona Colasante for an estimated $1.8 million. The county approved $2,095,807, including fees and a 10% contingency amount.
The property, which is next to the ACF’s Lochloosa Slough Preserve, is within a critical ecological corridor, Christman said, and once the purchase is completed, the entire footprint of the Lochloosa Slough will be in public ownership.
“The primary goal and protection of this property is protecting that last portion of Lochloosa Slough and the upland buffer,” Christman said.