After more than three years of fundraising and thousands of volunteer hours, WK Preservation Group (WKPG) has reached a landmark milestone in its effort to partner with Pinellas County and save the ecologically important West Klosterman Preserve from development.
On August 15, Pinellas County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution directing the County Administrator to negotiate the purchase of the West Klosterman Preserve from its current owner, Pinellas County Schools, in partnership with WKPG. The county has agreed to commit $1.5 million of Penny for Pinellas funds toward the purchase of the 14-acre tract, located on West Klosterman Road west of Carlton Road in Tarpon Springs.
WK Preservation Group must now match the county commitment with $1.5 million from private citizens and organizations. WKPG has already raised more than $700,000 and is launching an aggressive Close the Gap fundraising campaign to reach the remainder.
After acquisition, the land will be managed as a preserve in perpetuity alongside the county-owned, 76-acre Mariner Point Management Area (MPMA). Saving the West Klosterman Preserve will nearly double upland habitat for rare and endangered species, increase the natural drainage system and enhance ecological stability.
From now until Sept. 30, donations will be matched, up to a total of $35,000 through a Double Your Donation matching campaign created by St. Petersburg philanthropist Sally McConnell. She recently increased her match by $10,000.
Donations to save the West Klosterman Preserve can be made through the WKPG website, www.wkpreserve.com