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State funds to purchase Rattlesnake Key escape budget axe

The state will pay $23M to preserve the island.

One of the largest coastal land acquisitions made it into the $109.9 billion budget signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The state will contribute $23 million for the purchase of Rattlesnake Key.

“I am so pleased that the budget signed by Gov. DeSantis includes important priorities for the Manatee-Sarasota area, including funds to acquire Rattlesnake Key,” said Rep. Will Robinson, a Bradenton Republican. “We will now be able to permanently protect one of the most environmentally sensitive areas located in pristine Terra Ceia Bay.”

The island, south of the Sunshine Skyway in the Tampa Bay region, will become a state park accessible only by boat.

That $23 million expenditure represents one of the biggest local spending items in the state to make the final cut. Sen. Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, had made budgeting money for the ecological treasure a chief priority this Legislative Session.

“Overall our community did very well in the budget,” he said. “I’m extremely excited about the preservation of Rattlesnake Key for future generations to enjoy.”