The Sarasota County Democratic Party joins local environmental efforts and members of the community in opposition to the rezoning or sale of public lands near Celery Fields in Sarasota County. We do so for the following reasons:
- The Celery Fields is an internationally recognized bird preserve and wildlife habitat.
- Among the top reasons people visit and move to Sarasota County are our good weather, our fine beaches, and our excellent parks and preserves. These have contributed to the Sarasota metropolitan area being recently ranked #21 by US News/World Report in its survey of Top 100 Places to Live in the USA — and the highest ranked area in Florida.
- The internationally known Audubon Society, with the assistance of the Sarasota County Government, has constructed a popular ecotourism visitors’ center on the grounds of Celery Fields. This ecotourism center attracts thousands of visitors to our county every year, and these visitors generate a considerable contribution to our local economy.
- The public parcels for sale currently serve as a buffer and gateway to the Celery Fields ecotourism destination. Commercial sale and rezoning would eliminate that buffer.
- The Celery Fields wildlife sanctuary is located within a publicly-funded multi-million dollar Sarasota County storm water retention facility at the headwaters of Philippi Creek which leads to Sarasota Bay — a designated estuary of national significance. Rezoning decisions should not compromise water quality and marine life.
The Sarasota County Democratic Party urges the Board of County Commissioners to consider the risks to ecotourism, quality of life and environment, and designate the public lands adjacent to the Celery Fields as a parkland and wildlife habitat.
For Additional Information, contact
JoAnne DeVries, Chair
Sarasota County Democratic Party