The Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board voted Tuesday to accept a $1,865,200 offer from the Florida Department of Transportation to buy 68 acres at the northeast corner of the 1,167-acre Marshall Hampton Reserve for a section of the Central Polk Parkway.
The Central Polk Parkway is a planned toll road that will connect the industrial areas around the CSX freight terminal and surrounding planned industrial facilities in Winter Haven and the Polk Parkway.
The planned road, whose construction is scheduled to begin in 2023, will wipe out the large oak hammock at the beginning of the trail system with the reserve that connects to the Panther Point Trail along the eastern and southern shore of Lake Hancock.
The agreement with FDOT calls for developing a new entrance, parking area and trailhead somewhere south of the existing entrance. Details will be announced later.
This is the second purchase of Swiftmud property around Lake Hancock related to the toll road.
Earlier FDOT paid the water management district $12 million for land that was occupied by the former Old Florida Plantation development.
The purchase of the right of way will also leave a 19-acre parcel at the corner of Winter Lake Road and Thornhill Road that Swiftmud officials plan to declare surplus and sell later.
All of the proceeds from these land sales will go towards purchasing conservation lands elsewhere in the district.