Dane County has reached a tentative deal with a developer to buy 131 acres for a key piece of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail in the town of Cross Plains.

The $2.6 million for the purchase would come from borrowed money in the Conservation Fund that could be reimbursed by the state.

The $20,000 per acre deal is about half a million dollars less than a deal the County Board rejected in July 2009 for the same property. Board members argued the $23,375 per acre price was unjustified given the land had been purchased in 2005 for about $12,000 per acre.

Representatives for Carter Hudson LLC, the development company owned by Cross Plains developer Janice Faga, said the deal was dead after the County Board's 22-9 vote last year to delay the purchase.

The rejected deal included an option to buy an additional 175 acres for a similar price. The new deal doesn't include that option nor does it include a six-acre homestead that was part of the original deal.

Since last summer, state and county officials have been communicating with the property owner to broker a deal, the county's Conservation Fund manager Laura Guyer said.

Faga declined to comment on the latest deal. She had previously proposed a housing development for the property, but did not receive support for the project from the county.


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