The St. Simons Land Trust is moving closer to realizing its goal of acquiring undeveloped portions of Musgrove Plantation. It announced Thursday it had closed on the second portion of the three-part purchase. This includes 90 acres of the property.
The nonprofit organization, which seeks to protect natural beauty and green spaces on St. Simons Island announced plans to buy land from the plantation, the former home of Nancy Reynolds Bagley and of her son, Smith Bagley, in the late spring of 2016. Since that time, the group has moved forward with its three-phase acquisition plan. It expects to close on Phase 3 by the end of 2017.
The agreement with the seller, the Brenn Foundation, includes the purchase of a total of 260 acres of the 450-acre property. The first phase totaled 58 acres and will be protected by a conservation easement through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The easement offers a permanent legal guarantee that the property will never be developed.
Fundraising efforts to purchase the remaining part of the parcel — 112 acres — are ongoing. The Campaign to Preserve Musgrove is currently looking to raise the final $2.8 million toward its $11 million goal. The Land Trust will then be able to pay the total $10.65 million purchase price as well as cover improvements to open the property to the public. The Brenn Foundation will return approximately $1.5 million to the Land Trust to fund a stewardship endowment to support the property’s upkeep.
This is an exciting time for the organization, said Land Trust Executive Director David Pope. He feels acquiring the property will prove to be a huge victory for the group and the community as a whole.
“This parcel of Musgrove is a big addition to the protected lands on St. Simons Island. We are especially grateful to Nicole Bagley of the Brenn Foundation and Jason Lee of DNR for their tireless work to make this happen. A transaction of this nature is very complicated and takes a major effort by all parties,” Pope said.
Once the property is acquired, the park will be open to the public, something that pleases land trust board chair Frances McCrary.
“We expect it to be a wonderful addition to the community,” McCrary said. “And I’m happy to report that once we have acquired all 260 acres, the land trust will have protected 1,036 acres on the island.”