Effort to Create Shingle Creek Greenway (FL)

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, announced today the preservation of a 16-acre site in the City of Kissimmee that is a key piece in ongoing efforts to create the Shingle Creek Greenway.

TPL purchased the site from Ruba Land Group at the request of the city and will hold the property temporarily, until public funds become available for the city and Osceola County to take ownership. Funding is expected to come from the city, Osceola County, the South Florida Water Management District and state grant monies. The city is leasing the property from TPL, which will allow the city to begin passive recreational use of the property.

Located north of U.S. 192 between Shingle Creek and Yates Road, the site has more than 1,250 feet of frontage on the creek as well as frontage on Yates Road.

“The owner of the property had developers bidding to build a commercial strip on this highly marketable, commercially-zoned site with many permits already in place,” said Doug Hattaway, TPL project manager. This is the third land acquisition by the Trust for Public Land along Shingle Creek.

“Our staff has worked very hard to preserve this valuable property for future generations, and we truly appreciate the partnership with the Trust for Public Land in making it happen,” said Gary Holland, Deputy City Manager.

The property will be managed cooperatively with the other publicly-owned properties along the creek.

“This site offers important recreational and environmental benefits because of its frontage along Shingle Creek, its combination of uplands and wetlands, the proximity to other publicly owned sites, and its accessibility to the public via U.S. 192 and Yates Road,” said Mike Steigerwald, director of the city’s development services department. “The acquisition of this property is another example of how the Trust for Public Land, in partnership with various governmental agencies, has helped move forward regional efforts to save Shingle Creek for the benefit and use of the public.”

The Florida Trails Database lists the property as being in a corridor with a high prioritization for multi-use trails and a medium prioritization for paddling trails. It also is included in the South Florida Water Management District’s Save Our Rivers area.

“The property involved is a tract that the South Florida Water Management District has described as an important piece of the natural area along Shingle Creek’s west bank both ecologically and for future recreation in Osceola County,” said Craig Holland, assistant director of the city’s development services department. “The acquisition of this property represents another step taken to help protect an area that is sometimes referred to as the headwaters of the Everglades and to make portions of it available for appropriate public use.”

The city plans a mix of preservation and recreation on the property.

“Plans for the property include the provision of trails, a scenic overlook, portage opportunities, picnic facilities, a children’s play area, pet walk areas, bicycle racks, and other amenities,” said Dan Loubier, director of the Kissimmee parks & recreation department. “One of the key goals is to provide access to nearby recreation and conservation properties.”

TheTrust for Public Land 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 its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Florida, TPL has protected more than 300 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. For more information please contact us at 850-222-7911 or visit us on the web at www.tpl.org.