Conserving Manatee County: Emerson Point Preserve Expands

This week, the Manatee County Commission voted to expand Palmetto’s Emerson Point Preserve by a whopping 98 acres, protecting our precious waterways and adjacent areas from overdevelopment.

Provided the sale closes as expected, the $15.5 million purchase will be funded by a dedicated pool of property tax dollars.

While the decision to move forward on expanding Emerson Point Preserve is new, the purchase has been under consideration for some time.

The transaction initially stalled due to concerns over the property’s price tag–an early appraisal estimated the property’s value between $11-$12.5 million, significantly under the $15.5 million asking price.

However, widespread public support for the purchase–and strong conservative support from the Commission itself–prompted some creative troubleshooting to push the project through. 

The County Commission voted to make another negotiation attempt, which involved a new appraisal.

When the new appraisal estimated the land’s value at $14.6 million, the Commission embraced the purchase as a wise use of limited conservation funds. 

Pending final negotiations and contract details, the Manatee County Commission has protected nearly 100 acres for future generations to enjoy, free from encroaching homes and businesses.

Even better, much of the $15.5 million committed to the purchase may return to the county for further conservation efforts.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has expressed interest in purchasing the property from the county, which would not only protect Emerson Point Preserve but also enable the Commission to make more conservation purchases with the returned funds.

Thanks to the conservative leadership of Kevin Van Ostenbridge and James Satcher, Tampa Bay, Terra Ceia Bay, and the Manatee River–the areas adjacent to Emerson Point Preserve–will all be better protected for future generations to enjoy.

That’s a victory worth celebrating.

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