The state placed a bow on a $4.9 million deal this week to add an island to its state park system in a deal expected to close by Christmas.
The State Fiscal Accountability Authority approved the purchase of St. Phillips Island from billionaire media tycoon Ted Turner among a list of projects it rubber-stamped Tuesday.
The former Turner family private retreat is planned to become an extension of nearby Hunting Island. State park officials will spend months next year assessing the island and its possible uses, including the logistics of getting visitors on and off.
Camping, public beach access and renting out existing buildings on the property are among the possibilities. A conservation easement on the island allows up to 10 more dwellings.
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The island will be used for “public access and education,” the state wrote in its request.
About 1,000 visitors are anticipated during the first year of operation. By comparison, more than 1 million people each year typically visit Hunting Island.
St. Phillips will require about $250,000 in operating costs the first year and $300,000 the next two years, state park officials estimate.
A November appraisal valued the property at $15 million. A main house, caretaker’s home and shop on the site are more than 30 years old but in good condition, officials say.