Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Devoting money to Florida land-buying program faces opposition

Last year Floridians found out that calling something "Forever" doesn't guarantee its funding will never run out. That's when the Legislature stopped paying for the popular Florida Forever program.

The decision broke with a 20-year tradition of supporting the state's nationally known land-buying program, which originated as "Preservation 2000." Over two decades the program has saved more than 2.5 million acres of forests and swamps from being bulldozed.

Because of the Legislature's decision, state officials this past year were more cautious about buying property, trying to conserve the dwindling funds they still had on hand. If the program gets no money this year, either, though, that could end Florida Forever forever.

Gov. Charlie Crist has proposed reviving Florida Forever, putting $50 million in the budget he sent the Legislature. That's "really the bare minimum to put the program on life support," said Janet Bowman of the Nature Conservancy, which often collaborates with state officials on purchases.

Environmental groups have lined up four ex-governors — Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, Bob Martinez and Jeb Bush — to help them campaign to restore the funding. But some lawmakers remain skeptical of Florida Forever's value and question the wisdom of taking property off the tax rolls.

The irony is that, thanks to the slumping real estate industry, "there are a lot of fabulous opportunities out there now" that can be acquired at low prices, Bowman said. "Now's the time to buy."

Craig Pittman, Times Staff Writer

Devoting money to Florida land-buying program faces opposition 02/26/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 26, 2010 2:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Avalos gets life in prison for killing Bradenton neighbor, pastor

    Crime

    BRADENTON — A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor.

    Andres "Andy" Avalos has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a neighbor and a local pastor. 

[File photo from Manatee County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Manchester police hunt for accomplices; Islamic State group claims responsibility for blast

    Public Safety

    MANCHESTER, England — Investigators hunted Tuesday for possible accomplices of the suicide bomber who attacked an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, killing 22 people and sparking a stampede of young concertgoers, some still wearing the American pop star's trademark kitten ears and holding pink balloons.

    Emergency services work at Manchester Arena after reports of an explosion at the venue during an Ariana Grande gig in Manchester, England Monday, May 22, 2017. Several people have died following reports of an explosion Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in northern England, police said. A representative said the singer was not injured.  [Peter Byrne | PA via AP]
  3. Why's Pam Bondi raising money? Not to run for office, she says.

    Blogs

    Term-limited Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi may have restarted her political fundraising, but she says she's not considering a run for another public office.

    Attorney General Pam Bondi
  4. Roommates in Tampa Palms slaying case never outgrew Nazi sympathies, friend says

    Crime

    TAMPA — Like most people, Watson Fincher was shocked to hear that a neo-Nazi turned jihadi stands accused of killing his two Tampa Palms roommates — and that a fourth roommate told federal agents he, too, was a neo-Nazi, had bomb materials and was planning to target infrastructure.

    Authorities investigating a double murder Friday in the Hampton at Tampa Palms complex found explosives and bomb-manking materials in an apartment there. [ANASTASIA DAWSON   |   Times]
  5. The new 'Baywatch' movie is basically about hot people in swimsuits

    Movies

    Baywatch is a running gag in slow motion, a thong-in-cheek TV retread swapping wholesome jiggles for dirty giggles. There are places for such humor but beaches don't have gutters.

    Kelly Rohrbach as CJ Parker, Alexandra Daddario as Summer, Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden, Dwayne Johnson as Mitch Buchannon, Zac Efron as Matt Brody and Jon Bass as Ronnie in the film, "Baywatch."