12 Acres in Dunedin Will Become City Park (FL)

Dunedin, FL, 12/1/2008: A 12-acre site near downtown Dunedin, Florida has been preserved as a city park. That announcement was made today by the City of Dunedin and The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization.

The property has more than 550 feet of shoreline on St. Joseph Sound overlooking Caladesi Island State Park, which was named the #1 Beach in North America in May 2008 by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (also known as “Dr. Beach”). The property has about 750 feet of frontage on the very popular Pinellas Trail. According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, the Pinellas Trail is the third most used trail in the United States, with more than a million users every year.

“Dunedin’s location in Pinellas County puts it in one of the country’s most densely populated areas,” said Becky Nielsen, TPL project manager. “Open space is precious here, and that is especially true when it is on the water and right next to an extremely popular pedestrian trail. We were very pleased to help the city preserve this important site.”

The site, which will be called Weaver Park, will be owned and managed by the City of Dunedin as a passive park, providing residents and visitors with a canoe/kayak launch, trail side bathroom facilities, a 900 foot pier for wildlife viewing and fishing, and picnic pavilions. An historic house built on the property in 1915 by famed naturalist Dr. Willis S. Blatchley will be converted into a museum and nature center. The city also plans to restore shoreline wetlands and native oak hammock uplands.

“The importance of preserving this property will become even more evident as our community grows,” said Mayor Bob Hackworth. “It is a wonderful addition to our network of parks and trails.”

The 12-acre site was purchased by The Trust for Public Land from Weaver Enterprises on October 31. The City purchased the site from TPL on Tuesday. Funds for the acquisition came from the City of Dunedin, Pinellas County, and Florida Communities Trust, a state land acquisition grant program funded through Florida Forever that provides funding to local governments and non-profit organizations to acquire parks, open space, and greenways.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has worked with willing landowners, community groups, and national, state, and local agencies to complete more than 3,500 land conservation projects in 47 states, protecting 2.5 million acres. Since 1994, TPL has helped states and communities craft and pass over 330 ballot measures, generating almost $25 billion in new conservation-related funding. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 330 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of about $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.