Lakewood Ranch is a 48-square-mile community still growing toward maturity where residents are now studying the possibility of incorporating as a city. Here are 10 things to know about Lakewood Ranch:
A "Green" Community: With 14,287 acres certified as "green," Lakewood Ranch officials say theirs is the nation's largest "green" community. "Being green" requires a certain amount of land to be set aside for open space and it also pertains to how buildings are constructed and situated. It also involves preservation of natural flora and fauna. Whenever possible, old oak trees are relocated allowing development and landscape enhancements to complement one another.
38-Acre Gopher Tortoise Preserve: The community has a 38-acre gopher tortoise preserve. Lakewood Ranch is populated by hundreds of types of birds, dozens of amphibians and reptiles, and about 30 different types of mammals. The Ranch includes a 110-acre nature preserve and 400 acres of man-made lakes, and a 2,000-acre conservation easement.
More Than 80 Clubs and Organization: There are more than 80 clubs and organizations in Lakewood Ranch that any resident can join.
Two Nature Preserve Parks: Family recreation is ample in Lakewood Ranch. there are two nature preserve parks with lakes for fishing and three trails through dense trees and wetlands with stations that point out plants and wildlife. Lakewood Ranch has more than 100 miles of connected trails and sidewalks. There also are community parks featuring picnic facilities, playing fields, lighted tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds and outdoor grills.
Businesses: About 15,000 people call Lakewood Ranch home and about 12,000 work there. There are 1,200 businesses.
90 Holes of Golf: Lakewood Ranch offers 90 holes of golf. There are actually five 18-hole golf courses in Lakewood Ranch. They are King's Dune, Cypress and East in Lakewood Ranch Country Club, Legacy Golf Club and the Ritz Carlton Member's Club.
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center: Lakewood Ranch Medical Center offers modern and convenient care in a pleasant setting, just west of the Main Street shopping district and Town Hall.
Dining, Shopping and Entertainment: The Ranch offers a unique variety of dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities along Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, with its intersections at State Road 64, State Road 70 and University Parkway. In addition, Main Street and San Marco Plaza are well worth seeking out, offering a variety of American and international menus.
New Developments: In addition to the new development and rooftops, Lakewood Ranch is a working ranch with cattle, mining, and nursery operations.
Straddles Two Counties: The community of Lakewood Ranch straddles two counties, Manatee and Sarasota. To date, most of residential development has been north of the border, but the developer also has significant plans for adding neighborhoods in Sarasota County.
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