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The Village of Estero requested a land-use change and a rezoning for a 31.5-acre property at the northeast corner of U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Road on Wednesday. 

This property, south of the Estero River, is half of the 62-acre land the Village purchased in 2019, known as the Estero on the River Trails project. 

Council unanimously voted in favor of the first request, amending the future land use map from village center land use to public parks and recreation land use. 

“The 31.5 acres is on the south side of the river and that’s the property that is really environmentally significant,” said Village manager Steve Sarkozy. “It has beautiful Florida cascades and it’s never been clear cut. It’s really a unique piece of property.” 

Three years ago, the Village purchased the property for about $393,000 per acre, ultimately holding significant real estate value now. “If we were playing a real estate game, this property would be very valuable for development,” Sarkozy said. 

Council had the option of considering development on the property, but decided to protect the property and preserve it long term for its environmental value. 

“It’s a big deal for the village to have 31.5 acres put into public parks for the benefit of all the Estero residents now and into the future,” said council member Jon McLain. “This can be instrumental as development is going on at a rapid rate, both commercial and residential. To have this kind of open space available forever, or hopefully forever, is significant.” 

To go along with the land use change, the council also unanimously voted in favor of rezoning the property from mixed-use planned development and agriculture to parks and community facilities. 

The rezoning will better match the public uses that council has planned for the property and also protect the environmental features. 

“The residents right now or in the future will really appreciate this area,” said Village mayor Katy Errington. “If we don’t save it, who’s going to save it?  We’re looking ahead. That’s what we’re trying to do; look ahead for future generations and the folks who come out and want to enjoy it now. It’s like Central Park in New York, somebody had to save that.” 

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