Monday, January 22, 2018

Community Proposals Wanted

What would you love to see happen on our public lands near the Celery Fields? A community center? An ecolodge? A market and public trails?

The Fresh Start Initiative wants to hear from folks with the vision to know that sensible, creative planning can produce a uniquely vibrant urban/rural destination -- connecting the open spaces of the Celery Fields with the commerce and fun of the Packinghouse Area.

Where else can you find a 400-acre natural preserve within walking distance of cafes, shops, and markets, thanks to an I-75 underpass that connects a burgeoning urban core with wildlife, wetlands, and recreational opportunities?

Three publicly owned parcels form the intersection at Apex Rd. and Palmer Boulevard, just east of the highway and just west of the Celery Fields. The County has decided to sell parcel #3. For parcels #1 and #2, it's given Fresh Start six months to invite the community to come forward with ideas, proposals, outside-the-box thinking to achieve a more integrated approach to the possibilities in this area, the anteroom to East Sarasota County.

Fresh Start's search for viable ideas is open to all. We contend that community consideration of the relationships among neighboring public lands will yield a greater good than making random land use decisions in piecemeal isolation.

We are preparing community workshops in late March. Fresh Start's role is to to facilitate these meetings. The community itself will choose the options it prefers, and we will bring them to the County Commission.

A basic proposal offers a rough idea of land dimensions, the kinds and sizes of structures, the envisioned purpose, and ideas about funding. Considerations include:
  • impacts on traffic on Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road;
  • compatibility with surrounding assets: the Celery Fields, Packinghouse area, homes and schools;
  • economic enhancement: employment, raising land values, etc.
We need your proposal no later than March 1. 

Planning a proposal? A factsheet on the Quads.

Please send to

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