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City, Conservation Foundation of Gulf Coast explore partnership for Bobby Jones Golf Club

Post Date:06/28/2019 3:58 PM

Contact:  Jason Bartolone, Communications Specialist   941-928-3988   jason.bartolone@sarasotafl.gov

 

Sarasota, FL:  The City of Sarasota and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast have begun to discuss ways to preserve the 300-acre Bobby Jones Golf Club property in perpetuity for golf, recreation and as natural lands.

The City and Conservation Foundation are exploring the possibility of placing a permanent conservation easement upon the entire property that may be held, monitored and enforced by the Foundation, a nationally accredited conservation organization that has permanently protected more than 11,000 acres of critical lands.

This would ensure the permanent conservation of this green space and allow compatible future uses, which would be limited to golf, light recreation, natural resource restoration and protection as parkland or open space. The property would be endowed with adequate funding so that it can be maintained for decades to come.

“Our goal is to ensure that this remarkable environmental asset is conserved for the betterment of the City so that a variety of residents and visitors may enjoy the property for a mix of outdoor and recreational activities, both now and for generations to come,” said City Manager Tom Barwin. “This may be a fiscally responsible way to accomplish that goal as we move forward with the renovation and master plan for Bobby Jones Golf Club and environmental enhancements to the property.”

As the City has pursued the renovation of the historic golf course, which opened in 1926, it has become increasingly clear that the expansive property also plays a vital environmental role for the region. Enormous volumes of stormwater runoff, from as far away as the Mall at University Town Center, are retained and filtered by the property before flowing into Sarasota Bay.

The 300 acres of green space situated within an urban area serve as a habitat for more than 45 species of birds and numerous other wildlife species. And the hundreds of trees on the property play a critical air quality role by processing carbon from the atmosphere, thereby improving local air quality, cooling the region and helping to counter climate change.

“With its tremendous environmental value and its location in the middle of an urban area, next to a school, and less than half a mile from where the Legacy Trail extension will cross Beneva Road, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the City of Sarasota to permanently preserve the Bobby Jones Golf Club property and create an oasis of nature for all to enjoy,” said Conservation Foundation president Christine Johnson.

It is anticipated that the City Commission will be updated on the dialogue with Conservation Foundation when the Bobby Jones Golf Club business plan is discussed at its July 9 special meeting, which will begin at 3 p.m. at City Hall, 1565 1st St.

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About the City of Sarasota:  Distinguished by U.S. News and World Report as the 18th Best Place to Live in the U.S., the City of Sarasota is a diverse community located on Florida’s Suncoast with 55,000 year-round residents, several internationally recognized cultural arts venues, stunning sunsets along Lido Beach, a 45-hole municipal golf course at the historic Bobby Jones Golf Club, and Major League spring training baseball with the Baltimore Orioles.  Learn more about us at www.SarasotaFL.Gov

 

About Conservation Foundation: Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast saves land, forever, protecting those special natural lands that make this region extraordinary. Working with landowners, businesses, and government, Conservation Foundation protects the character and natural integrity of the bays, beaches, barrier islands and their watersheds on Florida’s Gulf Coast. A nationally accredited land trust, the Foundation purchases natural areas, holds land conservation agreements and educates for responsible land and water stewardship in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier County.  Learn more at www.conservationfoundation.com.