County votes on Scherer Thaxton Preserve

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Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:44 pm | Updated: 9:54 pm, Sat Dec 14, 2013.

NOKOMIS, FL, - Sarasota county leaders will name a 287 acre property next to Oscar Scherer state park the Scherer Thaxton preserve.

The county will soon open the area now partially named after former county commissioner Jon Thaxton to the public. It's located off state road 681 in Nokomis and some say it's an important part of making sure that area keeps its greenway.

The nearly 300 acres here are more than green grasses and tall trees. Right next door at the state park manager Tony Clements says it's the gateway to their 1,400 acres. "Oscar Scherer State Park is basically the only connection we have left from our inland green preserves to the coast. It's really important that we do what we can to keep these areas available."

In the middle of encroaching developments and highways the preserve acting like it's own wildlife road from other set aside lands. "If we are on an island we are not going to have that genetic diversity that you need for especially some of your bigger animals that live in the park."

Commissioners approving the name Tuesday. "I am grateful and honored but it is a little weird." Thaxton has worked for years with the local and state governments to save more lands around the park. "They can be preserved or they can be developed. So we kind of have this responsibility as the last generation that even has the ability and option to decide if they are saved or not." Important he says to at least save the most important.

More than just being green but perhaps also making some. "I think this is one of the great features of this area. it is one of the things that draws us down here." Visiting from Ohio Terry Smith is one of thousands who come here for the natural beauty every year.

Clements says it's important to the areas financial future too. "Our economic impact for the area is over 6 million dollars each year. We create over 120 jobs in the area."

The preserve will connect to the state park and is expected to be open to the public with trails for walking, riding, and fishing in the spring. "What we are trying to do is get people out of their cars, onto their bikes, onto their feet and just having that greater experience in the outdoors," says Clements.

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