PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Nichole Mattheus knows the clock is ticking. She and others working to save the Gladys Douglas Preserve in Dunedin have until the end of the month to come up with an offer.
The 44-acre property, located at the corner of Keene Road and Virginia Avenue, has never been developed. The Douglas estate is asking for $10 million for the property. It recently appraised for $5.5 million.
“It’s never been clear cut, it’s never been used for anything, so it’s a primary forest. Very delicate. You wouldn’t be able to reestablish that,” said Mattheus. “There is a lot of really important wildlife that lives here including the plant life that is here. It’s a very rare habitat. It’s the last of its kind in Pinellas County. “
The estate had an offer from a developer, but that ended up falling through. The county is putting up $3.5 million dollars, the city of Dunedin is contributing $2 million dollars and a private individual donated another $2 million dollars. The grand total is $7.5 million dollars, $2.5 million dollars short.
County Administrator Barry Burton went to the estate with the offer, but the offer was declined.
“We actually went back and said here is what your property is worth as it is currently zoned,” said Burton. “It’s hard to pay somebody what they think if they go through the zoning process the property is worth.”
Mattheus is concerned that time is running out.
“You know, we just need help to close in that couple million gap to push us over the finish line,” said Mattheus. “So we can preserve it and enjoy it for generations to come. “
If you would like to make a donation you can do so on the Pinellas Community Foundation’s website.