THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 11:31 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE | Florida state officials agreed Tuesday to sell off four closed prisons as part of a series of land deals that will bring in more than $27 million to the state’s environmental land-buying program.
Gov. Rick Scott and the three members of the state Cabinet unanimously approved the sale of more than 1,500 acres spread throughout Central and South Florida.
The four prisons were shuttered during a round of prison consolidations and budget cuts that happened shortly after Scott first came into office.
“It’s the right thing to do if there are surplus lands to sell it and put it back in the hands of the private sector so they will do something productive with it,” said Scott after the vote.
The money from the land sales will flow into the state fund that it used to purchase environmentally sensitive lands.
Environmentalists praised the deal because during the recession the state curtailed greatly the amount of money it spent on acquiring conservation lands.
Scott and Cabinet members at the same meeting agreed to spend $450,000 to purchase 155 acres in Lake County that is adjacent to the Lower Wekiva River Preserve Park.
The state has been acquiring land in Central Florida in order to create a greenway linking the Ocala National Forest to parks near the Wekiva River.
The four shuttered prisons are located in Central and South Florida: Broward, Hendry, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties.
The Hendry County parcel is the largest and includes more than 1,100 acres.
The state also sold off other land in Volusia, Miami-Dade counties and Monroe counties.
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