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No land purchases set for Southend

No South Whidbey land purchase projects will be getting conservation futures funding in 2002, partially because nobody asked.

Only two applications for Island County conservation futures funding were received by the Island County Parks Department this year. Totaling $83,000, the land purchases -- one each in Oak Harbor and on Camano Island -- won't wipe out the $400,000 currently available.

The county's conservation futures ordinance was passed the early 1990s as a way for government and nonprofit agencies to preserve undeveloped land for public use and recreation. Property taxes support the ordinance, with conservation revenues collected at a rate .625 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

In the past, conservation futures money purchased the Greenbank Farm, the Ala Spit, the 37-acres Freund Property wetland, 80 acres of Libby Road forest, and land for the Maxwelton Creek Outdoor Classroom.

After the purchase of the Greenbank Farm, Island County commissioners said they won't entertain any South Whidbey conservation projects for several years.

Island County parks Director Lee McFarland said Thursday that Island County plans to use $28,000 to buy two parcels of tidelands on Camano Island. The city of Oak Harbor is requesting $55,000 to purchase several easements in the area of City Beach in order to complete the city's waterfront trail.

Properties purchased with conservation futures money may be used only for passive recreation.

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