What if the Long Bar Pointe developers sold or donated (or both) the mangrove forest along the shoreline to Manatee County? This at first might sound like an outrageous idea, but there would be major benefits for all.
First, Manatee County would get a wonderful area that could be developed into a nature preserve similar to Robinson Preserve with paved and unpaved trails for pedestrians and bicyclists and even an observation tower or two.
The developers could go ahead immediately with the project that was approved in 2008. Part of their proposal was to restore the mangrove forest by removing non-indigenous vegetation such as Australian pines and pepper trees. They also said they would put in the trails and paths. Under the donate/sale plan, they would avoid the huge cost of restoring the mangrove forest.
In addition, the developers would rid themselves of property that would need constant maintenance and expensive liability insurance. They would pocket millions of dollars that could be used for development elsewhere; and if a portion of the land was donated to the county, they would reap huge tax benefits.
Further, the mangroves would remain intact and thus provide a level of protection from possible storm surge and the proximity of the preserve would be a big selling point for residential property built nearby.
Not only that, the mangroves and seagrass would be saved which would build goodwill among the residents of the county, especially the commercial fisherman, environmentalists, bicyclists, and naturalists. It would be a win, win, win, win situation. What do you think?