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Dewanes donate land to CLT

April 4, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Originally, Bill and Claudia Dewane planned to build a house on the beautiful park-like site off of Crestwell Street in St. James City.

"But then our daughter mentioned we already have a house and why build another house only to displace wildlife," Bill Dewane said. "Claudia and I realized she was right and decided to donate this land to the Calusa Land Trust."

In the late 1980s, the original St. James Creek Preserve was platted out as a multi-hundred homesite expansion of the existing St. Jude Harbors Subdivision, complete with a compound canal system and a roundabout entrance highway connecting it a commercial mall.

Article Photos

From left, Betsy Haesemeyer; Rad Hazen, the president of the Calusa Land Trust; Claudia Dewane; Bill Dewane; John Kendall and Marty Kendall.


"Historically, the initial purchase of land was in 1991," former CLT president John Kendall said. "Subsequent fundraising efforts adding additional parcels in 1993, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008 and the St. Jude Nature Trail opened in 2006."

Today, St. James Creek Preserve features memorial benches, a resting place tiki hut and a boardwalk leading to an overlook of St. James Creek. A parking and picnic area were added on the land donated by Brian and Caron Smith.

"Bill and Claudia Dewane donated the adjacent lots connecting to the remainder of the preserve," CLT president Rad Hazen said. "Today, thanks to their generosity, the site includes two picnic tiki huts (contributions from the Pine Island Garden Club and the Matlacha Hookers), an osprey nest (courtesy of LCEC and the St. Jude Harbors POA), parking and a pedestrian bridge (thanks to the financial support of the children of the late Dennis and Ruth Ward) leading from this area to the nature trail."

"Today St. James Creek Preserve includes 413-plus acres of land conservation never to be developed," Kendall said. "These 413 acres will never be developed and preserved forever thanks to the Dewanes."



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