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County rent hike may close Butterfly World

Broward County wants to raise the annual rent it charges the tourist attraction to lease 3 acres of a county park from $18,000 to at least $115,000
February 24, 2018 11:35AM

Butterfly World at Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek

Butterfly World, a tourist attraction at a county park in Coconut Creek, may close if Broward County insists that it pay six times more rent under a new lease agreement.

Butterfly World’s 30-year lease of a three-acre site in the county’s 625-acre Tradewinds Park will expire March 24.

The county wants to increase the tourist attraction’s annual rent from $18,000 to $115,000 or more, depending on the attraction’s revenue.

The county says the increase would bring Butterfly World’s rent in line with what other private businesses pay to operate in county parks.

Negotiations between the county and Butterfly World have hit an impasse, and supporters of the tourist attraction will ask Broward County commissioners on Tuesday to increase its annual rent to $30,000.

Butterfly World has operated in Tradewinds Park at 3600 Sample Road in Coconut Creek since 1988.

The attraction features approximately 20,000 butterflies, caterpillars and pupa, 600-plus birds including parakeets and finches, and botanical gardens.

If the attraction closes, the county would take possession of its buildings and other fixed assets, and Butterfly World would retain its butterflies, inventory and equipment.

A ticket for adult admission to Butterfly World costs $29.95.  Attendance in 2017 totaled 132,000 guests, including many that paid discounted prices for admission, according to Mary Jane Vanden Berge, the executive director of Butterfly World. [Sun-Sentinel] – Mike Seemuth