VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - About two years ago, the Venice Area Beautification Inc. signed an agreement with Sarasota County and the City of Venice to transform a section of Venice into a so-called “urban forest." This 33-acre piece of land is just East of the Venetian Waterway Park where the CSX Old Rail Road right of way once was.
Unfortunately, with so much development in the area there aren’t a lot of green spaces left, so not only is this urban forest bringing that back, but also becoming a buffer between the Seaboard Industrial Park and the Intracoastal Waterway.
This project will provide storm water absorption, save thousands of trees, and is now providing shelter for animals and 66 species of birds. So far, more than 1,000 native Florida trees have been planted as part of Phase One, and when Phase 2 and 3 of the project are also completed, the forest will stretch from the Venice Train Depot to Center Road – about two miles long.
Phillip Ellis, the Project Coordinator, explained why this first phase has taken so long, “It’s definitely hard when you don’t have a lot of money to move things along, but I think people are now seeing progress and are seeing what this could look like when it’s completely done, so they’re coming forward and asking if they could help.”
This project runs entirely off of volunteers and donations, so if you’d like to get involved or help, you can reach out to VABI here.