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Sarasota Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010 7 years ago

County looks at possible park site

by: Robin Roy City Editor

It’s been a year since the Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores neighborhood circulated a petition that asked the county to purchase a Bay Shore Road property and turn it into a park.
Matthew Reynolds, the driving force behind last year’s petition, is still working to get his neighborhood a park.

The biggest hurdle had been that the property Reynolds was targeting, 4200 Bay Shore Road, was owned by a development group that wanted to build homes there.

“I had given up on it,” said Reynolds.

Coastal Island Group had been working for about three years to build its Casa Museo development on the eight-acre property. The company had already put in all the infrastructure — electric, water, sewer and road. It only needed to sell the home sites. It was unable to, and the Casa Museo sign has been removed.

Reynolds said developer Pat Ball is now ready to sell the property to the county.

“The county is as good a buyer as any,” said Reynolds.

Ball did not return calls seeking comment.

Sarasota County keeps a list of properties it will consider buying and converting into parks. At one point, the Bay Shore Road property was low on that list, because the developer did not want to sell.

But Coastal Island Group’s possible change of heart and the recent elimination of Jungle Gardens from the county’s list put a possible Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores park back
into play.

The county is conducting an appraisal of the site to determine a target price, and Reynolds expects sale negotiations to begin shortly after, which could be within two months. Sarasota County officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores has two small “pocket” parks that are about a quarter-acre in size but has nothing the size of the Bay Shore Road property.

“We are the biggest neighborhood in the city, with about 1,200 homes, and we don’t have anywhere kids can play,” Reynolds said.

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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