The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 8 No. 46 - August 6, 2008

FEATURE

County to add another gem: Neal Preserve

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/TROY MORGAN The Neal Preserve is on the south east
side of the Anna Maria Island Bridge. Planned recreational amenities
include a trail, a canoe launch, bathrooms, a parking lot and signage.

Manatee County commissioners last week received a check from Florida Communities Trust for $2.2 million to purchase the Neal Preserve. The county provided $6.7 million in funding for the purchase.

The 119-acre preserve is located on the south east side of the Anna Maria Island Bridge across from the Perico Harbor Marina.

"The FCT provides matching funds to purchase environmentally sensitive or recreational lands," Maggie Marr, the county’s grants coordinator, explained.

"It will be another jewel in that chain of jewels along the coastline," Chair Jane von Hahmann said. "Four out of nine of these properties are in northwest Manatee County.

"That’s a huge accomplishment in what is the most densely populated area of the county to be able to provide this much environmental protection and recreational opportunities for the citizens of this county."

"It’s a great piece of property," Commissioner Joe McClash added. "It also completes the goals of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program in protecting that major resource of water."

"We’re in the pipeline to have all the money for the restoration of the natural resources," Marr said. "We are approved for two grants for the recreational components – a trail, a canoe launch, bathrooms, a parking lot and signage. It should be completed in three to four years."


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