The next review session to accept Lehigh Spring into the 20/20 Conservation Program is scheduled for Sept. 4. Lehigh Spring, located at 275 Joel Blvd. is being considered for purchase by Lee County. But first it has to pass through a few hurdles of review before being recommended for purchase by the commissioners.
The topic concerning the purchase of Lake Spring was first discussed and passed a few weeks ago by the Conservation 20/20 Program, division of County Lands.
What was to follow was a site inspection by the landowner, Ken O'Leary, last week.
O'Leary asked that the item be taken off the agenda at a meeting that was scheduled early this week by the Title Criteria and Ranking subcommittee.
Lynda Thompson, the coordinator at the Conservation 20/20 Program said O'Leary said he needed more time and information concerning an easement on the land.
Thompson said the Lehigh Spring nominations will most likely be on the Criteria & Ranking Sub-Committee (CRSC) on Sept. 4's agenda and on the Conservation Lands Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee on Sept. 13.
Ruth Ann Anglickis, a spokeswoman with One Voice Lehigh is urging those that attended the first review meeting to put the Sept. 4 date on their calendars. In addition, she said other residents of Lehigh are invited to attend the session at 1500 Monroe St, in the first floor meeting room. The time will be announced.
"Wear your Lehigh Spring T-shirts," Anglickis said.
Anglickis noted that the request to purchase made it through the secondary review, but must get through two more approvals before it can be sent to the Lee County Commission to approve the final purchase.
"We must finalize a strategy to help rank this purchase based on their criteria. Citizens' help will be appreciated if they will attend the next two meetings," Anglickis said.
Thompson said that unless CLASAC decides to delay their decision for some reason, they will recommend whether or not the nomination should be pursued for acquisition. The Board of County Commissioners takes into account their recommendation and makes the final decision. If the board decides to pursue for acquisition, the Division of County Lands orders appraisals, which are confidential, as a basis for making an offer, and negotiations are conducted.
The Lehigh Lake is considered one of Lee County's finest archaeological discoveries. In 1947, the lake was determined to be more than 200 feet deep. Artifacts from at least 10,000 years ago may be found at the bottom of the lake, according to local biologists and archaeologists who have testified that the site is of enormous importance for the history of Florida.
The 20-acre plot would probably contain a path around the lake and it is possible that someday in the future that a museum and research center be built on adjacent land.
Anglickis said that One Voice Lehigh is composed of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, the Community Council of Lehigh Acres, the Lehigh Acres Community Planning Corp., the Lehigh Acres Economic Development Board, and 18 centers of influence in Lehigh Acres.
More information can be found on the Conservation 20/20 Program website at: www.conservation2020.org.
Lynda Thompson, the coordinator, said if changes are made in dates, it will be posted on the website.