Sarasota Communities Rally for Celery Fields


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, March 14th, 2017 – Meadow Walk may have preceded the Vilano in developing Sarasota homes for sale by over a decade. Nevertheless, the residents of these communities and other nearby subdivisions off Palmer Boulevard, new or old, were quick to meld recently for a common cause: protection of the Celery Fields Preserve near their neighborhood.

These homeowners, along with conservationists from the Sarasota Audubon Society, are blocking two proposed industrial developments which they believe threaten the integrity of the Celery Fields as a wetland preserve. This area comprised of over 300 acres, as its name suggests, was a former celery farm developed out of drained wetlands.

More Besides Flood Control

Sarasota Communities Rally for Celery Fields

The county purchased this property in the 1990s and set it up as a preserve primarily to prevent flooding. Eventually, birds and other wildlife returned to Celery Fields following the restoration of its original function as a natural flood storage.

The local residents have sound reasons to be wary about any development around this preserve which has become a popular tourist destination as well as a perk for nearby Sarasota homes for sale. Bird watchers, according to the Sarasota Audubon Society, have already identified more than 200 bird species in this preserve. Besides bird watching, Celery Fields is also an ideal place for running, walking, biking, kite flying, and even horseback riding, canoeing, and kayaking.

Buffer Loss Feared

The immediate concern on the preserve is a wholesale restaurant facility planned at the northwest corner of Palmer Boulevard and Apex Road adjacent west of Celery Fields. County planners unanimously approved this project in February, but the County Commission has deferred a final decision till after a hearing sometime this April.

Conservationists and residents of neighborhoods near Celery Fields argue that development of this wholesale restaurant facility will bring increased local traffic. They also contend that this facility will eliminate the buffer between the preserve and the industrial structures on Palmer Boulevard, thus disturbing the preserve’s natural wildlife habitat.

Active Online Campaign

Neighborhood opposition has likewise been mounted on an industrial recycling plant proposed on a 16.2-acre site at the southeast corner of Apex Road and Palmer Boulevard near Celery Fields. Although this recycling plant is still in its preliminary stage of planning, there is already a petition circulating online to oppose it. As of this early March, it has generated more than 5,000 signatures opposing the recycling facility.

A group of residents organized to oppose the project said the proposed plant is incompatible with the nearby residences. It added that the noise the plant will create will disturb the preserve’s wildlife habitat as well as hurt values of Sarasota homes for sale in residential neighborhood around Celery Fields.

Stakes for Vilano and Meadow Walk

Much indeed is at stake for residents and communities around this preserve. Vilano, a nearby new community, for instance, prides in the seclusion and privacy of its sprawling acre-sized lots and spacious homes of between 2,500 and 4,400 square feet. Their current pricing ranges from the $500s up to the $700s.

Sentiment protective of Celery Fields is also but to be expected at Meadow Walk which is just across southeast of the preserve. Its residents, in fact, regard it as one of their neighborhood’s amenities, and the community’s homeowners’ association has been actively campaigning against both the recycling plant and the wholesale restaurant facility.