HOLMES BEACH – After 10 years, the city’s environmental preserve along Sarasota Bay is ready to welcome the public.
A grand opening and ribbon cutting is planned for Thursday, Oct. 18, at 9 a.m. at the 32- acre preserve located along the east side of Gulf Drive across from Publix and the Anna Maria Island Center. It is accessed via Avenue C.
Representatives of the city, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Anna Maria Elementary School and the AMI Chamber of Commerce will join the public in the celebration.
The preserve includes a 1,000-foot nature trail around the upland portion, three picnic tables, an informational kiosk, a bicycle rack and four parking spaces. It will be open only during daylight hours.
The project began in 1999, when the city received state funding to acquire the preserve and completed the purchase of a 32-acre portion in 2002. The city had plans to provide open space and passive recreational and educational opportunities in the preserve, but funding has been a problem.
Last year it the city removed exotics and used the tree trunks to delineate the nature trail. Then it added the other amenities.
Future plans include a boardwalk from the end of the upland portion to Anna Maria Sound with an observation tower midway and an observation deck at the end. Another boardwalk, which will connect with the nature trail, is planned over the wetland portion of the project along East Bay Drive.
Photos from the air.com/sun
Grassy Point as seen from the air looking roughly south.
The preserve is the large green area at the center of the photo.