TPL Will Acquire Open Space Lands for Sarasota County (FL)

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has entered into a contract with Sarasota County, Florida to provide conservation land acquisition services for the county over the next three years.

“We are very excited about working with Sarasota County,” said Andy McLeod, interim director of TPL’s program in Florida and the Caribbean. “Sarasota has been ahead of the curve in Florida when it comes to preserving environmentally sensitive lands. Its citizens are similarly committed to protecting land for neighborhood parks, access to waterways, and expansion of their developing trails system. We are very excited to be a part of the county’s continuing effort to conserve its most important places.”

On October 24, the county awarded two contracts – one to TPL, and the other to the Sarasota Conservation Foundation. Both contracts are intended to utilize $250 million in conservation funding that resulted from the overwhelming passage of a 2005 ballot measure that continues the county’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Acquisition Program (ESLAP). The contracts expand the program’s scope to include neighborhood parks and trails.

Although the ESLAP program has been in existence since 1999, the county took great care in developing this contract. What has resulted is a well-balanced program that will include strategic planning efforts called “greenprinting” for the new neighborhood parks portion of the program and comprehensive real estate acquisition services, as well as some park development and land stewardship activities. The contracts are three-year continuing service type contracts which allow both organizations to work on any type of land acquisition project.

The Trust for Public Land has been involved in land conservation in Florida since 1975. TPL partnered with Sarasota County in 2004 on the acquisition of a 12 ? -mile rail corridor from CSX Transportation Inc. that has become the county’s new Circus Trail. The corridor stretches from just over a mile south of State Road 72 (Clark Road) in Sarasota to the a terminus near Center Road in Venice.

TPL is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and 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 45 states. Working in Florida since 1975, TPL has protected more than 300 sites – over 200,000 acres at a market value of more than $500 million. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission. For more information please contact us at (727) 895-5090 or visit us on the web at