DEVELOPER DONATES LAND TO MARTIN COUNTY
In case you haven’t noticed there is some development occurring at the Kiplinger Trail and it is currently closed to the public. The development includes additional land donated by Knight A. Kiplinger to the public. So this is a bit of a back-story as the expansion is almost complete and the trail is due to reopen soon.
PROPERTY ADJACENT TO KIPLINGER NATURE PRESERVE WILL KEEP SOUTHWEST CORNER OF KANNER AND INDIAN UNDEVELOPED
STUART – Just a stone’s throw from the city limits and perched on the busy southwestern corner of Indian Street and Southwest Kanner Highway, seven acres previously approved by Martin County for commercial use now has a new destiny. The owner, developer Knight Kiplinger, announced the donation of the land to the county for conservation purposes.
Mr. Kiplinger, who resides seasonally in both Washington D.C. and Sewall’s Point and is chairman of his family’s real estate holding company, formally revealed the donation August 6 last year through a media press release stating;
“This morning I surprised our county commissioners with news of our family’s decision to donate this strategically located, pristine piece of land to Martin County, and I am delighted by their very enthusiastic response,” he said, “They and I think it will greatly enhance the public’s enjoyment of the Kiplinger Nature Preserve.”
The parcel is the last piece of a large tract acquired by the Kiplinger family more than 60 years ago that once covered hundreds of acres between Kanner Highway and the South Fork of the St. Lucie River. It lies next to the 157-acre Kiplinger Nature Preserve, the majority of which Martin County purchased from the family in conjunction with the Florida Community Trust some 27 years ago to maintain as public conservation land. At the time, the Kiplingers donated an additional 41-acre mangrove peninsula in the St. Lucie River to be added to the preserve. The latest donation adds the missing piece to the conservation puzzle and makes it the only undeveloped corner of the intersection. The City of Stuart recently approved a 212-unit apartment complex directly across Indian Street from the property.
“The land we are donating could have been developed as retail, office or residential space,” Mr. Kiplinger emphasized. “But we think adding this beautiful corner to the Kiplinger Nature Preserve will bring much more value to our citizens than the tax revenue of a developed use. It’s the intangible value of environmental protection, education and relaxation.”
Just a few days later, Stuart-based Urban Planner Marcela Camblor addressed the Stuart City Commission on Aug. 10 to talk about the donation. She has most recently provided design input to Mr. Kiplinger on his novel Pineland Prairie development slated for Citrus Boulevard,
“Mr. Kiplinger has always been a great philanthropist and environmentalist and has always said he supports the city’s rightfully earned reputation of putting growth where it belongs never forgetting about the environment and preservation,” she said. “He believed the best way to preserve the Kiplinger Nature Preserve in a pristine manner was to donate those seven acres that were developable. I just wanted to repeat the news for those that were not aware and thank those of you who planted the seed in his mind of our lands being preserved, open and public in perpetuity.”
Ms. Camblor emphasized that one particular Stuart Commissioner had proved particularly influential in Mr. Kiplinger’s decision to donate the land.
“I think in this process I would be remiss if I did not mention Commissioner [Merritt] Matheson’s continued efforts and phone calls to Mr. Kiplinger reminding him and suggesting this seven-acre piece would be a great addition to the Kiplinger Nature Preserve and benefit all of our residents in [both] the city and county”
All the commissioners, including Commissioner Matheson, asked Ms. Camblor to communicate their gratefulness to Mr. Kiplinger.
“Ms. Camblor thank you so much, and tell Knight Kiplinger we are all very grateful for all the good work he’s done for Stuart and Martin County”
The Kiplinger Family has a long history in Martin County, with Knight Kiplinger’s grandfather, W.M. Kiplinger, first coming to Stuart in 1952 at the suggestion of a friend. He promptly fell in love with Stuart and bought the 20-acre Bay Tree Lodge in Sewall’s Point. Over the years, he and his family have bought, sold and donated much land in Martin County, as well as maintaining their real estate holdings in Maryland. Some of the elder Kiplinger’s donations included the land for the Women’s Club of Stuart on East Ocean Boulevard; the land on Skyline Drive for the Jensen Beach Community Church; and the land for the county’s first public library building. Years later, the family foundation donated land on Hutchinson Island in the 1970s that would become Virginia Forrest Beach.