Instead of new homes, Sarasota golf course land could become key to bay water quality
Developer is working on a plan with Florida DEP to clean arsenic contamination to build homes but is willing to sell parcels to Sarasota County as site for stormwater improvement
The former 49-acre Gulf Gate Executive Golf Course could be one of several keys to foster the continued improvement of water quality in Sarasota Bay, or a 106-home subdivision retrofitted inside one of Sarasota County’s first master-planned communities.
Environmentalists, water quality proponents and area residents — including members of the Gulf Gate Community Association — can envision the course, laid out on three sections already interspaced between existing homes, as the site of a county project that could both provide additional stormwater cleansing and help alleviate potential flooding.
"To get 49 acres in that particular area of the county …. it would be an unbelievable acquisition,” Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Neunder said at the Oct. 24 meeting where the idea of county purchase of the course was discussed.
The golf course is the largest available parcel west of Beneva Road and is less than one mile from Sarasota Bay and less than two miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf Gate is part of Neunder’s district and he has worked with members of the Gulf Gate Community Association.
David Tomasko – the new executive director of the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program – said the property offers an opportunity for a large-scale regional stormwater retrofit similar to one established to help clean up Hudson Bayou, and the anticipated impact on stormwater quality that the redevelopment of the Bobby Jones Golf Course in Sarasota should have.