VERO BEACH — Nearly two dozen land trust professionals from throughout Florida held a day-long meeting hosted by the Indian River Land Trust at the new Springhill Suites Hotel on Indian River Blvd. in Vero Beach. The hotel, owned by Kite Properties, Inc. provided the space for representatives from ten different land trusts from all corners of the state. Kelly Kite, Jr., the company’s Managing Director and a board member of the Indian River Land Trust said he was happy to help with this cooperative effort. Ken Grudens, Executive Director of the Indian River Land Trust (IRLT) and President of the Alliance of Florida Land Trusts explained how this venue was “the perfect place for a meeting of land trusts as the hotel is filled with IRLT photography of local natural areas and agricultural lands.” The meeting focused on how land trusts can work together to improve efforts statewide for land protection.
Guest speakers from The Nature Conservancy and the Florida Department of Revenue helped the group to look more closely at issues related to state programs. One such program is the now unfunded Florida Forever which was created by the state legislature to help with acquisitions of environmentally sensitive land. Another is a new property tax program approved by Florida voters in 2008 designed to give breaks to property owners who permanently restrict development on their land with conservation easements.
According to Grudens, the meeting was a great success. “Several collective initiatives were agreed upon to strengthen our efforts to create a stronger voice in Tallahassee about statewide initiatives and to better ensure that each of our organization’s work is the best it can be.”
The Indian River Land Trust, a non-profit organization celebrating 20 years of conserving land and water in Indian River County, is dedicated to promoting the preservation, conservation and improvement of the County’s natural resources and special places for the benefit of the general public and future generations.
For more information call 772-794-0701 or visit www.irlt.org.