Big Acquisitions for Environmental Program

Big Acquisitions for Environmental Program - Orlando Tribune 2007 Gavin P Smith

Orlando, FL – In a move supported by most citizens, the Osceola County commission recently approved a measure to place specific sites on a “target list” for the Environmental Lands Conservation Program created by the county.  The effort is a move in part to preserve land from overdevelopment and to instead preserve its use for future parks and greenways.

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The Environmental Lands Conservation Program was created to acquire and manage environmentally significant lands with a voter-endorsed ad valorem funding source. This property tax enables the program to issue bonds for the purchase of land for water resource protection, wildlife habitat, public green space and resource-based (passive) recreation. The Land Conservation Advisory Board is comprised of nine members from the community representing such areas as, agriculture, business, education, the environment, government, civic organizations and the cities of Kissimmee and St. Cloud.

According to the commission, there are quite a few sites being eyed by the country for this preservation program, perhaps some near you.  Most of the land on the list to date consists of chunks of land in the Kenansville and Shingle Creek areas.  Almost 1,950 acres of land alone comes from the Kenansville area, including 1,148 acres of Redding Property, 203 acres of Crescent Coast, 343 acres of Lonesome Ranch, and 255 acres of the Lucky L Ranch.

Shingle Creek is also contributing smaller amounts, including a 5.75 acre piece of Randy Yates Property, a 1.47 acre parcel of the Metzger property, and a smaller 200 foot by 500 foot section from Crichton Property.  St. Cloud is contributing 43 acres along Rummell Road for the program as well.

However, the biggest single grab so far is some 6,700 acres of Venture 4 land just south of the Big Bend Swamp area.  All told, around 8,700 acres total so far to join the Environmental Lands Conservation Program. Although the Rummell Road property exists on the outskirts of an urbanized area, the remaining properties are all rural.  Taking great care to avoid affecting businesses or neighborhoods, the move would help conservation efforts for the county.

According to Osceola County officials, they have yet to have any negative response from the community towards this program.  In fact, the community can nominate certain areas to be considered.


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