The City of Sarasota and the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast have begun to discuss ways to preserve the 300-acre Bobby Jones Golf Club property in perpetuity for golf, recreation and as natural lands. The city and Conservation Foundation are exploring the possibility of placing a permanent conservation easement upon the entire property that may be held, monitored and enforced by the foundation, a nationally accredited conservation organization that has permanently protected more than 11,000 acres of critical lands. This would ensure the permanent conservation of the green space and allow compatible future uses, including golf, light recreation, natural resource restoration and protection as parkland or open space. The property would be endowed with adequate funding so that it could be maintained indefinitely.
The historic golf course, which opened in 1926, also plays a vital environmental role for the region. Enormous volumes of stormwater runoff, from as far away as the Mall at University Town Center, are retained and filtered by the property before flowing into Sarasota Bay. The golf course also serves as a habitat for more than 45 species of birds and numerous other wildlife species, and the hundreds of trees on the property play a critical role to the area's air quality.
The City Commission will be updated on the city's dialogue with Conservation Foundation when the Bobby Jones Golf Club master plan is discussed at its special meeting on July 9, scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at City Hall.