Published: Aug 12, 2010 12:09 AM EDT
Updated: Aug 11, 2010 4:49 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Edison farms, a controversial 4000 acre parcel in southeast Lee County, wants to sell to Conservation 2020.   But the price tag, at least the initial asking price, is hefty: 170-million dollars.

"I know it's a lot of money, but that is the opening asking price.  Where there is a will, there is a way," said Phil Douglas of Estero, a long-time supporter of preserving the wetlands that the farms occupies on the east side of  I-75, south of Corkscrew road.

"This is all preliminary, we have checks and balances to weigh every parcel that is presented to the program," cautioned commission chair, Tammy Hall.   "We have an excellent advisory committee to sort through the various parcels and try to get a fair price."

Edison farms had wanted to become the site of   "Fenway South", the new stadium for Boston Red Sox spring training.   Commissioners rejected the location in favor of another site.   Environmentalists have long favored, keeping the land just the way it is - a watershed, panther habitat, and location for many birds.  

"I am passionate about this purchase, just as passionate as I was, against the stadium on that site," said Douglas.  "We must preserve this land."

The advisory committee to the 2020 program meets Thursday at 5:30pm, to talk about the Edison farms proposal.

WINK News tried to reach a farms representative.  But he was in meetings in Michigan, and not available for comment.