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Preserve plan will add land

The Weekiwachee preserve will gain 58 acres of land west of U.S. 19.

By DAN DeWITT

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000


The district's governing board voted to buy the three parcels of land at its meeting Tuesday.

None of the pieces, which are all west of U.S. 19 and east of Osowaw Boulevard, are adjacent to previously acquired property. But they are part of the district's long-term plan to add to the preserve, more than 8,000 acres of which have already been acquired.

Specifically, the purchases will add to the Aripeka Coastal Greenway, which includes most of the land between Osowaw and U.S. 19, said Fritz Musselmann, the district's land resources director.

A resident's group, the Gulf Coast Conservancy, began urging the state to buy this land nearly a decade ago.

"These are a continuation of the Weeki Wachee Preserve and our effort to complete the Aripeka Coastal Greenway," Musselmann said.

The properties include the following:

Thirty acres about 1/2-mile north of the Hernando-Pasco county line and 21/2-miles west of U.S. 19 with a negotiated purchase price of $81,000.

Twenty-one acres on the east side of Osowaw Boulevard, north of Hammock Creek with a negotiated price of $45,000.

Seven acres north of Gulf Drive on Hammock Creek with a price of $50,000.

Swiftmud also has agreed to buy parcels in the area, but the deals have not yet been closed.

The largest of these is the $5.75-million pending purchase of nearly 900 acres of environmentally sensitive land from S. Whitehurst and Sons Inc. in the Bayport and north Hernando Beach area.

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