| Fort Myers News-Press
Lee County will hit up its 20/20 conservation fund for nearly $2.2 million to buy three parcels totaling more than 365 acres.
Two of the properties are adjacent to the Bob Janes Preserve near Alva and the third is near the Yucca Pens Preserve near Cape Coral.
An advisory committee that reviews land purchases for the 20/20 fund unanimously recommended that the county purchase both northeast county properties.
The smaller parcel is recommended for its potential to cleanse sandstone and water table aquifers that provide water supply in the east county, where there is concern about water quality due to aging and failing septic systems in North Fort Myers.
About 98 acres are located about three-quarters of a mile north of the intersection of North River Road and Fichters Creek Lane in Alva. The parcel’s northern and eastern boundaries are adjacent to the Bob Janes Preserve, an existing Conservation 20/20 site. The property is improved pasture with the potential for rehydration of its sandstone and water table aquifers. The purchase price is $634,000, plus costs to close estimated at $20,000.
About 179 acres are located on the north side of North River Road, about a quarter-mile west and north of Fichters Creek Lane, in Alva, adjacent to the south boundary of the other Alva-area parcel approved Tuesday. The land includes natural wetlands, pasture and cypress. The purchase price is $1,225,000, plus costs to close estimated at $20,000.
Jesse Lavender, director of parks and recreation, told Lee County commissioners Tuesday that the parcels are an important addition to the conservation measures that have been discussed by the commission recently.
“A few meetings ago, we talked about the regional sheet flow that can flow through this area from Cecil Webb (preserve) into Charlotte Harbor, and trying to restore that natural flow way,” Lavender said. “These two parcels play into that.”
The third parcel is made up of 93 acres adjacent to county-owned Yucca Pens Preserve and the state-owned Yucca Pens Unit of Fred C. Babcock-Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area in northwest Lee County, near Cape Coral. This parcel is located about a mile east of Burnt Store Road. The purchase price is $260,400, plus closing costs estimated at $17,500.
A state-county-federal project is underway to restore regional water quality in the area of that parcel.
To date, there are 30,424 acres within the Conservation 20/20 Land Acquisition Program, county officials said.
The newly acquired properties can be used for hiking, birding and other recreational pursuits,” in addition to their environmental value, Lavender said.