Friday, July 14, 2017

LTE: Save surplus land around Celery Fields

A Letter to the Herald Tribune from Christopher Mahon - raises a very important point - thank you, Christopher:

To the Editors:
It is so nice to see that the Sarasota city commissioners have the imagination and foresight to consider buying the Players Theatre property downtown, even without definite plans for its use. Would that such attitudes were contagious. 
The Celery Fields were developed as a strictly utilitarian flood-control project. It was only later that the area came to be an ecotourism destination known nationwide. How often do the unintended consequences of government action turn out to be wonderful? 
Well, we can still blow it. On Aug. 23, the Sarasota County Commission will vote on the proposed concrete and construction-debris recycling plant adjacent to the Celery Fields, already rejected by the Planning Commission. 
Concerned citizens must show up to ensure the right outcome. But we must go further. We must remove the four pieces of our land from the surplus list and save them for our posterity. 
The land parcels in question were deemed surplus when the property was being developed because they had no use as flood-control area. However, just as the Celery Fields has evolved into an irreplaceable recreational site, so, too, can the “surplus” parcels. 
Whether they become an interpretive botanical park, community gardens, or something no one’s yet considered, it doesn’t take a genius to see that having undeveloped land contiguous to the Celery Fields is nearly priceless, and will be even more so in the future. 
If the county government lacks the foresight to protect this land, the people of this county don’t. 
Christopher Mahon, Sarasota

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