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Real Estate Slump May Add Lands to Manatee County Preserves

Due in part to the recession, the county has a chance to rescue from development three ecologically important properties. County Department of Natural Resources Director Charlie Hunsicker recommended Manatee should apply for grants from the Southwest Florida Water Management District to purchase the land from private owners.

He outlined Tuesday a plan to acquire 149.9 acres adjacent to Robinson Preserve in northwest Bradenton; 8 undeveloped acres in east Manatee with 2,000 feet of Braden River frontage; and 24 acres along the Braden River, also in East Manatee, that includes the popular Linger Lodge restaurant.

"It's an opportunity, I believe, that looks really at advancing Manatee County land holdings without impact on our general fund," Hunsicker told the county commission during a workshop session at County Center.

William C. Robinson, president of Robinson Farms Inc., wrote the county, "Clearly, we are in a very serious real estate recession...