St. Johns County (FL) Gains 54 Acres for County Park

Tallahassee — The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today announced the acquisition of a 54-acre parcel of land along the St. Johns River in northwest St. Johns County, approximately 30 miles south of Jacksonville.

The undeveloped property, bordered on both sides by single-family residential homes, will be conveyed to St. Johns County from TPL using grant funding from the Florida Communities Trust.

“Acquiring this site will protect one of the last large undeveloped waterfront properties left along the St. Johns River,” said Bob Guido, TPL project manager. “This magnificent property is wonderful recreational area for the people of St. Johns County today but like a jewel it will become even more precious as years go on”

The “St. Johns Bluffs” property is a pristine example of native north Florida live oak hammock, featuring more than 950 feet of St. Johns River frontage and a 12-15 foot high bluff overlooking the river.

At the request of the County, TPL worked to negotiate the sale of this unique property with the owner, Ruth Harris Bennet who had a strong desire to protect the property from development. According to TPL’s Bob Guido the project would not have been possible without the support of Mrs. Bennet who sought to preserve the land she grew up on in its natural state. “It is remarkable,” commented Guido, “that such a large waterfront parcel of land within such a high growth area had not already been developed into residential homes.” TPL then assisted the County in preparing a grant proposal for the Florida Communities Trust to complete the purchase.

The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization with its Florida headquarters in Tallahassee and offices in Jacksonville and Miami, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment.

Since its founding in 1972, TPL has worked to protect more than 1.2 million acres in 45 states valued at over $1.8 billion as parks, gardens, playgrounds, greenways, recreation areas, historic landmarks, and wilderness lands.

Operating in Florida since 1975, The Trust for Public Land has partnered with private landowners, communities, and government agencies to conserve more than 200 special places throughout the state for people to enjoy.