Mecca Farms sale proposal to South Florida Water Management District

LOXAHATCHEE, Fla.--A major deal is in the works to sell the Mecca Farms property in western Palm Beach County to the South Florida Water Management District.

The county currently owns the 1,900 acre property. Palm Beach County purchased the land in 2004, with hopes of attracting the Scripps Research Institute. The Institute instead went to a property in Jupiter.

The proposed plan involves selling the land to the SFWMD for $26 million. That's about $75 million less than it cost to buy the land and maintain it.

Along with selling 1,750 acres to the water district, county officials say they'll donate 150 acres to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That land will likely be used as a public shooting range.

County officials say that shooting range should bring the local economy about $7 million each year from money earned from shooting tournaments.

A final vote on the sale will be made in September.

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