TPL Seeking Additional Funds for Estate Maho Bay Purchase

While the Trust for Public Land is still moving ahead with its purchase of about 415 acres in Estate Maho Bay, the non-profit U.S. conservation group needs additional funds to complete the deal.

The large V.I. National Park in-holding stretches from Maho Bay Campground across five hillsides and includes a sensitive and pristine watershed.

The land, which has been in limbo for years, was owned by 11 heirs of Harvey Monroe Marsh who each had title to one undivided share. The VINP purchased three of the shares in the 1970s and TPL purchased one share in 2003.

Contracts Signed with Heirs
The remaining seven heirs spent years in the local courts trying to subdivide the land, but no progress was made on the deal over the past 10 years — until September 5, 2006, when TPL officials announced they had signed contracts with six of the seven heirs to purchase the land.

While TPL representatives did not release the price of the land contracts, the group announced they must raise millions for the purchase.

Anonymous Foundation Donation
Stepping up to the plate, an anonymous foundation has contributed a sum of money toward the price tag, but TPL still needs more funds, explained the group’s South-west Florida Office Director John Garrison.

“There is a foundation that is going to put some money toward the purchase, but we still need private funding from individuals or foundations,” said Garrison. “Anyone who wants to help bring this to a successful conclusion would be appreciated. We can use any additional donations.”

The group hopes to complete the purchase by the end of March 2007, Garrison added.

“There are no guarantees, but if everything goes well, we’re hoping to close the deal by the end of the first quarter of next year, March 31,” said Garrison. “We’re still moving ahead and moving toward closing this deal.”

Once the purchase is complete, the land will ultimately become part of the VINP, Garrison added.

While details of the contracts signed with the Marsh heirs have not been released, each of the six heirs will retain a six-acre lot with the ability to construct up to two houses on each lot, according to information provided by TPL.

Anyone interested in donating funds toward the Estate Maho Bay purchase should contact Garrison at (727) 895-5090, extension 202, or check out TPL’s Web site at