Florida Communities Trust Approves Park Funds (FL)

Tallahassee, FL, 9/19/05 – The Florida Communities Trust (FCT) has approved State grants for a variety of community parks, trails and preservation projects across Florida, including four involving the Trust for Public Land (TPL).

“Once again, the Florida Communities Trust is making important long-term investments in Florida’s communities, their parklands, and their special landscapes,” said Greg Chelius, TPL’s State Director. “These parks and recreational projects represent the best type of community partnerships and the smartest type of land use and growth management.”

FCT, a component of the State’s landmark Florida Forever Program, is a competitive State grant program. It provides funding to local governments and nonprofit organizations that apply for funding to acquire community parks, greenways, historic properties, and other open space. All projects must meet the recreational and natural resource protection needs identified in approved local comprehensive plans.

Meeting on September 15, the FCT governing board either fully funded or contingently funded the following projects in which TPL is involved:

  • Bayfront/Haas Property, Village of Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County. Located on Biscayne Bay, this 3.6 acres will be protected as a public park. In addition, a house on the property that was built in 1926 will be preserved and eventually opened to the public. The FCT board approved $2.71 million to the Village of Palmetto. TPL purchased the property, in conjunction with the Village, in December 2004.
  • Green Turtle Hammock, Islamorada, Monroe County. TPL, in conjunction with the Village, will purchase this 8.7-acre parcel of tropical hardwoods and waterfront access located on an historical property. The FCT board approved $4.7 million awarded to the Village of Islamorada.
  • Jones’s Pier, Indian River County. More than 16 acres located on the Indian River, an historic property dating to the 19th century. The FCT board approved $3.63 million to Indian River County. TPL is currently seeking to acquire the property in conjunction with the County.
  • Hackberry Hammock, St. Lucie County. TPL was asked by St. Lucie County to help acquire several key parcels, totaling more than 230 acres, that will serve to provide a wildlife corridor between existing public lands. The TPL board approved $3.4 million for St. Lucie County.

In addition to these four projects, TPL is involved with several other competitive projects. The Davie Farm Park, in the Broward County community of Davie, may receive funding later in the year, as additional FCT funds become available.

This year FCT received a total of 82 applications worth $167 million for the $66 million available annually – almost three times the available funding. In 2004, FCT received applications totaling more than $136 million – twice the amount of available State funds. FCT evaluates all the applications and decides which ones will be funded and the amount of funding each project will receive.

TPL has been involved with FCT since its inception in 1990 and has worked with landowners and local government agencies on many successful acquisitions under the program.

TPL is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states.

In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.

For more information please contact us at 850-222-7911 or visit us on the web at www.tpl.org.