Fortuño inks Gurabo grab of UPR land
The legislation calls for UPR to get 100 acres of land at the former Roig sugar mill in Yabucoa in exchange for the 50 acres of prime farmland at the Gurabo Agricultural Experiment Station. UPR administrators had fought the move.
Gurabo Mayor Víctor Manuel Ortiz plans to use the land to build affordable housing, a public housing project, a public school, a hospital and a nursing school.
Agriculture representatives have criticized the transfer, saying it sets a precedent by stripping the UPR of its authority over its properties and also renders the roughly 500-acre Gurabo Agricultural Experiment Station useless.
An earlier legislative proposal that would have given the UPR some 68 acres of flood-prone land in Gurabo was scrapped.
The lands and structures that make up the island’s Río Piedras Agricultural Experiment Station and six substations — in Lajas, Adjuntas, Isabela, Corozal, Juana Díaz and Gurabo — belong to the public university. The UPR Mayagüez campus Agricultural Sciences School manages them.
Due to urban sprawl, the once-rural site of the Gurabo substation is now one of the most desirable undeveloped tracts in the growing municipality. The land in the transfer includes some of the limited island acreage classified as “organic” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.