The last private piece of a 125-acre island in Estero Bay will soon get another chance to become part of the Koreshan State Historic Site.
A subcommittee of Lee County’s Conservation 2020 will get a new environmental review on Mound Key next week. The county’s land preservation program wants to buy the archaeologically significant site but the brothers who own it are still exploring their options, while asking for 15 million dollars. resident of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Andrew McElwaine, says they’d love to see the site preserved but the asking price is very high.
“What you’d hope is that the owners would be cognizant of a couple of things, one is the unique value of the resource. The second is the tax consequences of taking all that money. Where with a bargain sale or if they really can justify that it’s worth that much, if they sell it at less than that they could reap significant tax benefits.”
Archaeologists believe the island was the capital of the Calusa Indian empire that dominated Southwest Florida for thousands of years. It was also the site of the first Jesuit mission in North America in 1567.
The island that was the first Jesuit mission in North America in 1567 and the capital of Southwest Florida’s Calusa Indians has one last piece of private property on it. Three Fort Myers brothers whose family bought the land in 1896 have offered it to Lee County’s Conservation 2020 program for 15 million dollars – or they could build as many as 6 homes on it. But Conservancy of Southwest Florida President Andrew McElwaine says the brothers should consider other pricing methods.
“Work with 2020 to take it in a series of payments and things of that nature, donate a portion of it – sell the rest. You know the tax consequences would be enormous for selling at that price where they could do the right thing and reap some real tax benefits by doing so.”
Lee County wants to buy the 9-acre tract to add it to the Koreshan State Historic site. A new county report gives the property high marks for native plant cover and for the presence of mangroves and island hammock. It’s also home to two major Calusa Indian mounds and it’s home to the Grand Canal dug by the Calusas more than 500 years ago.
Wednesday, 31 May 2006 01:00