Johnson County conservation board purchases 132 acres for $3M

Cropped Photo: 401(K) 2012 / CC BY-SA 2.0
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- A county conservation board in Iowa is spending about $3 million to buy 132 acres (53 hectares) that includes extensive woodland and several barns.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that Johnson County voted Tuesday to buy the properties from the state Natural Heritage Foundation.

County Conservation Director Larry Gullett says the deal is a "donation purchase agreement" and the property will be bought for less than its $4 million assessed value.

The city will first lease the land before purchasing the property by fall 2019.

Critics say discussions about the project shouldn't have occurred in closed session meetings and that the structures on the properties don't fit with the Conservation Bond language.

Board of Supervisors Chair Mike Carberry says it's an opportunity to protect a large area of hardwood forest.