St. Johns River Water Management District News Release
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Teresa Monson:(904) 730-6258 (Office) or (904) 545-5064 (Cell)

Agreement completes greenway corridor, enhances recreational opportunities

PALATKA, Fla., May 9, 2017 -- The St. Johns River Water Management District's Governing Board on Tuesday approved an agreement that will clear up a 45-year-old title issue and create a continuous greenway corridor that includes the Silver Springs Bikeway.

"This agreement completes the last piece of the recreational access puzzle and creates a continuous 66-mile multi-use trail in Marion County, linking Silver Springs State Park and Indian Lake State Forest to the Sunnyhill Restoration Area," said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle. "More importantly, this parcel is a key piece of the Ocala-Marion County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan benefitting regional recreation, tourism and the local economy."

The seven-acre Sigler property is located adjacent to the Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area in Marion County. The parcel was originally part of a federal flood control project in 1972 that involved the taking of lands stretching from the Sunnyhill Restoration Area to the Ocklawaha Prairie for the C-231 canal and L-212 levee. The property changed hands from the federal government to the Southwest Florida Water Management District in 1976, then to the St. Johns District in 1977. However, property records did not show the change of ownership, and district staff discovered the error during another real estate transaction in 2016.

Under the agreement, $21,000 will be paid to the Sigler family. In addition to enhancing recreational opportunities and settling the title issue, the agreement protects the district's ownership in the property and access to a portion of the federal flood control project levee, and fulfills the district's management obligations to maintain the levee.