Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet will meet next Tuesday, and one issue up for discussion will be the possible purchase of more than 5,700 acres in Sarasota County and 17 acres in Columbia County. According to the News Service of Florida, the property would be acquired through the Florida Forever conservation program.
Cabinet aides on Wednesday, in advance of next week’s Cabinet meeting, reviewed the proposed $21 million purchase in Sarasota County from Orange Hammock Ranch, LLC. “This protection ensures that sufficient quantities of water are available to meet the current and future needs of natural systems and the citizens of the state,” a staff review of the proposal said.
The state’s cost could be offset by $1.5 million from the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. The property, on the north side of Interstate 75 in North Port, is part of a 40,873-acre Myakka Ranchlands Florida Forever project, of which 15,288 acres have been acquired or are under agreement to be acquired. The 17 acres in southern Columbia County, with a purchase price of $740,000, is along the north bank of the Santa Fe River. The land is where the first magnitude natural spring Columbia Spring emerges and flows into the river.