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MIAMI-The Miccosukee Tribe has acquired for $53 million a 223-acre plot of land that sits in close proximity to its $55 million resort convention facility. South Florida Water Management District officials had hoped to buy the land and build a six-square-mile water storage reservoir. Now those officials and local environmentalists are wondering what the Miccosukee are going to do with the land. It is unclear if there was one or several sellers of the aggregate property.

The price paid for the property, $37,000-per-acre is raising eyebrows as well. That number marks a four-fold increase over the property’s most recent assessed value of $8,000-per-acre in 1998. It was in 1999 that the tribe added its multi-million dollar, 302-room, nine-story resort to its existing casino at the edge of the Everglades. That project, too, sparked concern among environmentalists, but they had no authority over the matter. The resort was constructed following the government’s granting virtual sovereignty to the Miccosukee within nearly 700 acres of the Everglades.

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