The Trust for Public Land’s First “Preservation Project” is Complete (FL)

JACKSONVILLE: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), working under Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney’s Preservation Project, has purchased 234 acres of land to be used as the first phase of the City’s new Castaway Island Preserve.

Greg Chelius, director of Florida projects for the Trust for Public Land said, “Not only will the public acquisition of the property prevent it from being developed and help control urban sprawl in Jacksonville — the major goal of the Mayor’s Preservation project — but it will also protect valuable habitat and provide new recreational opportunities and public access along the Intracoastal Waterway.”

This 234-acre property is located on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, north of Beach Boulevard and east of San Pablo Road. Acquisition of this land continues land conservation efforts to create a “blueway” along Pablo Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) in Duval County and adds to other recently purchased parkland including, Dutton Island in Atlantic Beach and the Centex property, recently purchased by the City of Jacksonville under the Preservation Project.

The City and the Trust for Public Land will seek matching grant funds from the State of Florida, through the Florida Communities Trust, for fifty percent of the cost of the acquisition. The Florida Communities Trust receives funding under the state’s Preservation 2000 land conservation program.

In June 1999, the Trust for Public Land entered into a partnership with the City of Jacksonville to help implement the Mayor’s $312 million “greenprint for growth” called the Preservation Project. This March, the Trust for Public Land opened a new office in Jacksonville to help carry out this program.

Working with the City, the Trust for Public Land is responsible for providing land conservation services in three of the Preservation Project’s five priority corridors: the St. John’s River, the Southeast Greenbelt, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Phase one of the Castaway Island Preserve is the Trust for Public Land’s first purchase in the Intracoastal Waterway corridor.

Since its founding in 1972, the Trust for Public Land has worked to protect more than 1.2 million acres in 45 states valued at nearly $2 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.