Pima County plans to purchase the remaining 2,700 acres of the Empirita Ranch, the 160-acre Bloom property in the Tucson Mountains and the 50-acre Cortaro/Hartman property along the Hardy Wash.

The three properties will cost a total of $12.8 million, most of it from 2004 open space bond funds.

The purchases, along with one other expected in August, essentially mark the end of the county’s $28 million 1997 open space bond program and $163 million 2004 open space bond program.

With the purchase of the Clyne Ranch east of the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area later this summer, the county will have just $12 million left in the open space bond, all of it set aside for purchases for the various municipalities.

The county will have bought 72 properties totalling more than 52,000 acres, as well as 127,280 acres of grazing leases on State Trust Land and grazing permits on federal Bureau of Land Management land. The average price was $3,800 per acre for the 1997 program and $3,300 an acre for the 2004 program.

Read more in tomorrow's Arizona Daily Star