Happy Earth Day Grovelanders! Welcome back to our third “Wednesday Workshop” where we breakdown the key characteristics of communities with natural charm. Last week, we highlighted the many benefits of Parks and Trails. To continue our theme of connecting people to Groveland’s wonderful outdoor habitat and celebrating the 50th Earth Day, what other topic would be more appropriate than conservation?
As the City with Natural Charm, our values are rooted in conservation. So much so, that our new Future Land Use Map allocates at least 50% of land to conservation. It doesn’t stop there. We are also preserving at least 10% of Agricultural lands which gives us more than 60% of land as preserved open space.
How can one of the fastest cities in Florida continue to facilitate growth and achieve this level of conservation? The answer is by applying Smart Growth principles advocated by the Natural Resources Defense Council. These principles include mixing land uses and housing types while guiding growth in the form of compact, walkable communities. This helps to preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas.
Preserving open spaces like prairies, wetlands, and farms is both an environmental and economic priority. Market data shows that people across the country want access to natural recreation areas, which translates into demand for housing, ecotourism and agrarian lifestyles. Meeting that demand improves the city’s ability to attract employers, while also supporting agricultural industries. Conservation also increases Groveland’s resiliency, protecting the city from natural disasters, improving air quality, mitigating erosion, moderating temperatures, protecting water quality, and preserving animal and plant habitats.
As part of the city’s planning process, we are updating the Conservation Element of the Comprehensive Plan largely focused on our key environmental features -- the Palatlakaha River and Green Swamp. This element will be better integrated with our Parks and Trails Master Plan by introducing conservation corridors weaving throughout the city and accessible by trails. Be sure to check out the image gallery to view the Draft Future Land Use and examples of integrating conservation with communities.
Also, since this Friday is National Arbor Day, we are planting cypress trees in Lake David Park. We encourage all Grovelanders to join us in celebrating both Earth Day and Arbor Day by planting more trees. For guidance, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.