WK PRESERVATION GROUP NEEDS $3 MILLION
KEEP 14 ACRES OF WILDERNESS FROM DEVELOPMENT
Tarpon Springs, Florida (June 8, 2022) – COUNT DOWN: HELP SAVE A SLICE OF PARADISE A $3 million payment is required by July 1, 2022 to help save 14-acres in densely populated northern Pinellas County from development. The Tarpon Springs-based WK Preservation Group (WKPG) were thrilled to get the news two months ago that the Florida Governor would sign a $3 million appropriation bill to save this portion of the vanishing wilderness. Last week, the group learned he vetoed that request. The non-profit organization was formed by grassroots organizers, neighbors, friends, concerned citizens and VIPs in January 2020. They are now left to find generous donors to raise the funds and secure the preservation of the West Klosterman property. When the money is raised, the land will be turned over to Pinellas County for permanent preservation. To date, WKPG has raised about $475,000 towards the purchase.
To donate directly, go to https://wkpreserve.com/make-a-donation/ where you will find a donation button, and information on where to mail a check. Contact: (321)368-2044.
WK Preservation Group President Tex Carter said, “We took on this challenge for our kids and grandkids, to help the animals and preserve the plants and trees in our precious slice of paradise in Pinellas County. Our WKPG group represents the spirit of the community that wants to preserve important natural habitats. We want to be an organization that can make a difference.”
Florida Representative Chris Latvala offered his total support and was instrumental in taking the cause to Tallahassee. He represents the 67th District, which includes northern Pinellas County, and has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2014. House Speaker Chris Sprowls, representing the 65th District, had been extremely supportive as well, and looked forward to the governor’s approval.
The School Board purchased the West Klosterman land from the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1996 with an eye toward building a school or other educational facility. After determining the property was not needed, the School Board voted to put the land up for sale. A developer expressed interest and the school board almost agreed to sell the land to the developer for $3.3 million. The pending sale grabbed the attention of neighbors who wanted to sustain the preserve, which led to the formation of the WK Preservation Group as a 501(c)(3) charity who have conducted a campaign to save the West Klosterman Preserve for more than two years. In that time, WKPG has united over 1,000 supporters and donors, received the support of the school board and Pinellas County, all committed to saving the Preserve and identifying more conservation opportunities in the future.
WK PRESERVATION GROUP
An organization of concerned citizens, the WK Preservation Group (WKPG) wanted to save 14 acres of pristine and ecologically important land from becoming a condominium development. Environmental scientists have toured the property and documented more than 60 species of plants and wildlife, including gopher tortoises, flying squirrels, ospreys and eagles, wood storks, an ancient and endangered Florida rosemary, endangered giant air plants, longleaf pine and many others. Flaked chert is a common find and evidence of ancient native living areas. The Preserve is coastal upland adjacent to the 76-acre Mariner’s Point Management Area (MPMA), an environmental lowland preservation area owned by Pinellas County and has functioned as one ecosystem with the MPMA for over a hundred years. Success in saving the Preserve leads to:
• Protection for rare, threatened, and endangered wildlife
• Promoting groundwater recharge and improving surface water quality
• Avoiding increased stress on overcrowded roads and infrastructure
• Preserving irreplaceable land for generations
The WK Preservation Group has partnered with the Pinellas Community Foundation (PCF) to raise awareness and seek financial support. PCF was instrumental in securing the purchase of the 44-acre Gladys Douglas Hackworth Property in Dunedin and saving it from development.
This partnership with PCF will continue as the WK Preservation Group works on future conservation projects in our region.
WK Preservation Group website: https://www.wkpreserve.com
Pinellas Community Foundation’s West Klosterman Preserve Fund website –https://pinellascf.org/giving/wkpreserve-fund/