Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What is state doing to our corner of paradise?

The state of Florida wants to do WHAT?!
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is proposing to sell a number of state parks or parcels of same.
They are considered "surplus."
Among the properties on the list are some in Manatee County.
Like 19.4 acres at Lake Manatee State Park.
Like 13.1 acres at Terra Ceia Preserve State Park.
According to Herald colleague Sara Kennedy's story, the land at Lake Manatee State Park comprises a strip along the park’s far western border on the west side of Dam Road.
The land at Terra Ceia constitutes several parcels separated from the main body of the park by Interstate 275 and U.S. Highway 19 as they approach the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
What gives?
DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. said his department has prioritized buying conservation land that protects springs, water quality and water quantity sources and buffers military areas.
Which I presume leaves Lake Manatee and Terra Ceia out.
Unless Uncle Sam is planning to build an Air Force facility around here.
There's enough land in Manatee County suitable for development without making parts of our state parks available for same.
Unless Manatee County has some spare change lying around to buy back that land.
Eric Draper doesn't like this move at all.
Oh, yeah. He's got some.
 “You will see objections from people like me, but it also will get objections from recreational users --- hunting, picnicking, bird watching," said the executive director of Audubon Florida. "In most cases, there’s people using the land."
The proposed surplus sites in Manatee County are just some of those scattered across many counties in Florida.
What's also bothersome about this deal is it comes at the same time we've got our guard up about a proposed private development in north Terra Ceia called “Skyway Preserve.”
That's the ominous proposal for a land swap with the state at the south end of the Skyway Bridge.
It is separate from the DEP plan involving our two state park properties and state officials say nothing has been decided.
Still, its juxtaposition makes you want to scream, what in blue blazes is the state trying to do to our little corner of paradise?

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