A Columbia space household has sold practically 650 acres to a conservation group as a part of a deal to create one of many largest city nature preserves in South Carolina.
The Open Space Institute bought the Lexington County property for $7 million from the Taylor household final week after months of negotiations, the group mentioned. The non-profit land preservation group plans to resell the property for the identical value to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources for growth of the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve.
If that occurs, the Congaree Creek protect would embody greater than 1,200 acres, roughly double its present measurement. The Congaree Creek web site could be greater than most heritage preserves in city areas of South Carolina.
State funding to amass the land is anticipated to come back from the S.C. Heritage Trust program and the state Conservation Bank.
The present 630-acre protect lies between the twelfth Street Extension and Charleston Highway in Cayce, only a quick distance from downtown Columbia. Congaree Creek, a significant stream, runs by way of the protect on its method to the Congaree River close by.
The property is stuffed with creeks, excessive bluffs, swamps, a uncommon white cedar forest and plant-rich bogs. One bathroom alone has 14 uncommon species, mentioned L.L. “Chick’’ Gaddy, who has surveyed crops on the land. The property additionally has loads of wildlife, together with wooden geese, deer and birds of prey. And it has archaeological significance, consistent with the historic significance of the present Congaree Creek web site, state officers mentioned.
“It is form of a series of pearls in an city space,’’ Gaddy mentioned of the land.
Taylor members of the family had been searching for to promote the land for preservation, however growth remained a chance on a part of the property if the deal fell by way of. The sale closed final Thursday, solidifying the settlement that has been underneath dialogue.
Edmund Taylor, whose household traces its roots in Columbia to the American Revolution, mentioned the general public ought to benefit from the property.
“We’re tickled to demise there are usually not going to be homes on it.,’’ Taylor mentioned, noting that DNR archaeologists had been useful in placing the deal collectively. “It’s going to be a beautiful useful resource for Columbia and Lexington County.’’
Ken Prosser, assistant deputy director for wildlife and freshwater fisheries on the DNR, mentioned the land acquisitions must be taken up by the state Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority later this summer time. Those boards should study proposed land offers.
“The plan is to make it a part of the Congaree Creek Heritage Preserve,’’ Prosser mentioned. “It clearly is of significance to DNR or we might not be pursuing it..’’
Funding particulars should nonetheless be labored out. But the S.C. Conservation Bank, a company that buys land for protection, would doubtless present among the cash, financial institution board Chairman Mike McShane has mentioned.
Last week’s deal had been questioned by state Treasurer Curtis Loftis, who raised concern concerning the appraisal for the land and the worth the state might pay. He additionally had questioned whether or not utilities would possibly want among the property to increase pipes.
But Loftis mentioned his considerations have been mollified after discussions with these aware of the transaction.
“We requested loads of questions, we acquired tons of fine solutions again,’’ mentioned Loftis, who lives in Lexington County. “Everybody acted in good religion (and) to my data, we felt snug with the transaction. Any of those advanced transactions are usually not precisely how one would do it themselves, however you may perceive it.’’
In a press release Tuesday, the Open Space Institute mentioned it seems to be ahead to South Carolina taking management of the land for public use. The expanded protect would make for a major public leisure spot and would “give Lexington County considered one of South Carolina’s largest, most accessible public inexperienced areas,’’ the institute mentioned in a press release Tuesday.