Long Bar Pointe plan threatens Manatee County's ecosystem, economy

August 1, 2013 

People gather at the intersection of Cortez Rd. and 75th St. W. in Bradenton Wednesday afternoon as a show of protest against Long Bar Pointe development plans. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

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For many years, Sarasota Bay has been slowly recovering from near collapse. Now it is again under threat from dredge-and-fill development.

Specifically, the current proposal for Long Bar Pointe would remove acres of seagrasses along with mangrove forest and canopy. These are vital to the health of our coastline and our waters. And our whole economy -- especially tourism -- depends on the healthy ecosystems that they provide.

More broadly, proposed changes to Manatee County's comprehensive plan -- changes that would allow this Long Bar Pointe project to move forward -- could set a dangerous and unstoppable precedent for unwise development in our other Coastal High Hazard flood areas.

Through the years, many of us have fought to keep our region from becoming another Miami, or St. Petersburg, or Fort Myers Beach. People come to Manatee County because it is one of the few remaining areas where they can still experience the charm and natural splendor of "Old Florida."

Once that is gone, it is gone forever. We would cease to be unique.

If you treasure the beauty that nature has given us, please make your voice heard. The Manatee County Commission will meet on this issue Aug. 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Carl Parks

Bradenton

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