Deal protects Serenola Forest

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- After years of negotiating, the deal has finally been made for the Serenola Forest.

"This is a great acquisition for Gainesville and Alachua County," Alachua Conservation Trust Executive Director Tom Kay said.

Alachua County and the Alachua Conservation Trust have been negotiating the deal for the land over a dozen years.

Alachua County purchased Serenola Forest for $3.2 million using the Wild Spaces and Public Places sales tax that was approved by voters in 2016.

"It's wonderful to have big large open areas in the far parts of the counties but having something around your backdoor is some place people can use every single day," Kay said.

Alachua Conservation Trust has been around for 30 years working to conserve land similar to Serenola Forest.

The land is between Idylwild Elementary School and the Oak Hammock retirement community.

The county plans to make the forest more accessible to the public while maintaining the wildlife habitat.

Walking trails which will include an ADA accessible trail and a wildlife viewing platform are some things the county plans on adding to the over 100 acres of land.

"One of our hopes here with this piece of property is that we will be able to deliver environmental education to the students instead of having to bus them across town like we usually do," Kay said. "They can come right over here and enjoy nature right out their door."

People with the Alachua Conservation Trust are looking for volunteers to remove debris from the property. The volunteer workday is scheduled for December 29th.

For more information about the volunteer workday, contact ACT Executive Director Tom Kay at 352-373-1078.