Efforts now will focus on education about how the preserve would be funded.
Manatee County commissioners today approved the next steps for the potential creation of Braden River Preserve.
County staff now will move forward with creating a municipal service taxing unit district, comprised of about 1,400 homes in River Club and Braden Woods. The district would fund the acquisition of a 33-acre property at the western end of Clubhouse Drive for $3 million and save it from development by assessing properties within the district for a 30-year period.
The county and a citizens action group called Friends of Keep Woods now will begin educational efforts about the MSTU, how it would work and its outcome.
Manatee County will poll affected properties via postcard to judge resident interest in the MSTU. If at least half of homeowners respond positively, county staff expects to bring the item to the commission in January to set a public hearing to create the MSTU.
Commissioners applauded residents working on the project for their efforts to find a solution to save the property from development and the willingness to contribute toward the cause.
“You are creating your own Central Park,” Commissioner Betsy Benac said.
The current proposal calls for the MSTU to purchase of the land with Manatee County paying for site improvements and ongoing maintenance of the preserve.
Friends of Keep Woods is working with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast to conduct neighborhood education on the proposal and will start holding community meetings in November. Both groups are working to raise private funds and grants to go toward the land’s purchase and reduce costs to homeowners. The Manatee Fish and Game Association has already pledged $25,000 through the Manatee Community Foundation.