Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Fresh Start Initiative - for a new vision of the Celery Fields area

To the Board of Sarasota County Commissioners:

Developers seeking to rezone land typically claim that their proposed changes will augment a property’s value, make it more useful, and have a positive impact on the surrounding area and the County.

The Fresh Start Initiative for the Celery Fields Area has a similar purpose.

Our undersigned HOA's and organizations are simply saying: We live, work, drive and play in the Celery Fields Area. Its unique assets have undergone rapid change, and more are on the way thanks to the Fruitville Initiative. Before the County considers yet another industrial proposal based on 35-year-old land use maps at Apex and Palmer, we ask you to pause, talk to the people, and study the potential.

The parcels at Apex/Palmer lie at a crossroads that links the area’s various assets -- the Celery Fields’ wetlands, birdwalks, and Observation Mound, the Quad parcels at Palmer Blvd. and Apex Rd., Big Cat Habitat, Ackerman Park, the Fruitville Initiative’s plan for a linear park along the north cell of the Celery Fields, even the unusual underpass linking the Quads with the Packinghouse district. So many potential synergies!

A holistic, collaborative, and proactive planning effort can link these stranded assets as well as put in place key community values, ideas, and goals that will increase the quality of life, protect the good that’s already there, and produce a genuine value opportunity. Planning the Celery Fields Area as a unified whole will enhance every part of the area in a manner consistent with Sarasota County's reputation for innovative planning.

Let’s work together on a plan that’s mindful of both the ecology and the economy of the Celery Fields Area. A plan that will

  • Beautifully introduce East County;
  • Enhance Sarasota’s brand, and
  • Attract more distinctive development.

Especially here, in this special place, let’s not sacrifice the vision and thoughtful restraint that has characterized Sarasota’s land stewardship -- the real reason that our county is considered one of the finest places to live in the US.

Engage the people.
Envision the potential.
Enrich our legacy.

(The above letter has been given to each Commissioner that Fresh Start meets with.)

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