Could future development hurt North Port's drinking water?
The peaceful flow of the Myakkahatchee Creek has supplied the people of North Port with drinking water for quite some time, and for just as long the City has been trying to make sure no one builds on the over 500 lots alongside the creek.
"We started trying to think of innovative ways to obtain those properties. Some people just didn't want to sell them," said North Port Assistant City Manager, Danny Schult.
The City has been acquiring these lands slowly since the late 90's. Now, they're down to the last 60 or so lots. Convincing people to sell has proved a challenge, so they've resorted to a trade.
"Property owners could exchange their lots along the Myakkahatchee Creek for other lots that the City owns," says Schult.
Some environmentalists fear the mass grab of land is to add new developments.
"Development is definitely possible next to the Myakkahatchee Creek. It's a very desirable area to build in," said Manasota 88' Director Glenn Compton.
There are 12 homes already built along the river - but if more were to be built, it could harm the ecosystem and therefore have a devastating impact on the water supply.
We asked how important the creek is.
"Depends how important drinking water is to people. It's extremely important. Not only for public health but also for environmental resources," said Compton.
For now, the City says the land is being acquired to ensure the longevity of the drinking water supply.
"It is not to build on. It is to keep it as a conservation area and preserve it so there is no building in the area," said Schult.
"There may not be residential development pressures within it now, that can certainly change," said Compton.
In a meeting on Tuesday North Port City Commissioners will make the final decision whether they want to acquire the remaining pieces of land along the Myakkahatchee Creek.