Manatee County's Robinson Preserve is expanding

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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - Manatee County has expanded Robinson Preserve by another 150 acres to a total of 630 acres.

More than 300,000 people use the poplar preserve every year for walking, jogging, hiking, biking and kayaking.  It is located at the intersection of 99th Street NW and 17th Street NW, and offers views of the mouth of the Manatee River, Tampa Bay, and Perico Bayou.

The $3 million addition is being paid for from a donation from the Mosaic Foundation.

Charles Hunsicker, Manatee County Natural Resources Director hopes the remaining expenses will be paid for from the BP Oil Spill Funds. Those funds have not be allocated yet, and if Manatee County receives the money they've requested it could still be a couple of years before it's available. Meanwhile Hunsicker says he will proceed with the funds available, starting in 2014.

Much of the area was once intended to be a golf course until the economy sank those plans. Now Hunsicker says it will be returned to the way nature intended it to be, for everyone to enjoy.