Pinellas County To Negotiate Purchase Of Douglas-Hackworth Lane

DUNEDIN, FL — Pinellas County government and City of Dunedin officials have announced new developments in the effort to acquire land in the Gladys Douglas-Hackworth property for environmental preservation and passive recreation.

This week, the local governments received certified appraisals for the 43.44-acre property ranging from $5.52 million to $5.55 million. An appraisal is required to apply to the state for environmental preservation funds. With these appraisals now completed, negotiations with representatives of the estate will take place next week.

“We’re very pleased with the public and private funding commitments we’ve been able to garner thus far for the property, and look forward to working with the estate to preserve the property for future generations,” said Pinellas County Administrator Barry A. Burton.

“Our community believes acquisition of this property is an intergenerational imperative,” said Dunedin City Manager Jennifer K. Bramley. “The city of Dunedin looks forward to working with our partners, both public and private, to place a strong offer before the estate.”

County and city officials also announced they will submit a joint application next week to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for a Florida Communities Trust state grant. They hope the grant, coupled with an ongoing community fundraising effort, will allow the county to acquire the property on the northeast corner of Virginia Avenue and Keene Road and pay for environmental restoration.

An anonymous donor who grew up in Pinellas has already pledged to match $10,0000 to preserve the Gladys Douglas-Hackworth property.

Residents interested in contributing toward the purchase of the property can donate on the Pinellas Community Foundation website.

Additionally, 12,775 people have signed an online petition to save the property.

Residents working to save the property plan to host a sign-waving in front of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater, at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and then attend the Pinellas County Commission meeting at 2 p.m. to voice their support of the purchase.

Prior to her death in July, philanthropist Gladys Douglas-Hackworth expressed the desire that the two parcels of endangered scrub habitat she owned at Virginia Avenue and Keene Road be preserved in their natural state.

The property is adjacent to another 144-acre conservation property and the 31-acre Jerry Lake owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The critically endangered scrub habitat is the largest undeveloped sandy ecosystem remaining in North Pinellas County.

In October, residents interested in honoring Douglas’ wishes launched a series of sidewalk sign-wavings in front of the property after learning that the trust that now owns the scrub habitat was planning to sell it for development.

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