State approves nearly $30m in property sales, including four shuttered prison sites

Matt Dixon, (@Mdixon55)

TALLAHASSEE —The state on Tuesday approved the sale of nearly $30 million in state properies, including four state prisons shuttered due to budget cuts, to pump money into a program designed to purchase conservation lands.

The land deals green-lighted by Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet includes a $3.5 million sale of a 135-acre site that was home to the defunct Hillsborough County Correctional Institution, which until 2012 served as women’s prison.

The Florida Department of Corrections still pays annually to maintain the property and its now empty structures.

That property, on Balm Road just east of U.S. 301, is being purchased by Eisenhower Property Group LLC of Tampa. The company’s president is Jeffrey Hills, according to state documents. He could not be reached for comment.

The Tampa Tribune reported last month that Eisenhower Property Group also purchased 165 acres east of prison site.

Scott, along with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Attorney General Pam Bondi, approved a total of seven land sales worth $27 million. That money will be used by the Florida Forever program, a state-funded conservation and recreation land buying program.

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