Sarasota-Manatee news, in brief



Neal Communities has dedicated a new park in its Forest Creek community in Parrish to the Lescenski family, who owned the land from 1954 until Neal purchased it in 2004.

The family's former property makes up the third phase of Forest Creek.

"The streets in Forest Creek all have historic Parrish names," said Pat Neal, president and CEO of the Lakewood Ranch-based home builder. "This, in essence, gives them a piece of the property back in perpetuity. This community has a great historical legacy, and we are pleased to help maintain that."

The Lescenski family of Parish, N.Y., arrived in Florida on July 4, 1954, and purchased the farm land to raise their family.

"Dad came down and was looking at a lot of different properties when he found this beautiful piece of land," said Susan Lescenski, whose parents are both now deceased. "Back then, it was at the end of a dirt road. We had dairy cows and chickens, and it was a beautiful place to grow up. Our family loved that property so much and it will mean a lot to my parents to have their name on this beautiful new park."

Forest Creek is five miles east of Interstate 75 on U.S. 301.


The Ringling Museum's Tibbals II Learning Center has achieved LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Built by Willis A. Smith Construction, the museum was completed in 2011, providing 24,500 square feet of expansion to the Tibbals Learning Center.

LEED — Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — is the USGBC's green building standard.

"Approximately 83 percent of construction materials were recycled, and all other necessary materials were sourced regionally," said Dave Otterness, project manager for Willis A. Smith. To counteract the environmental impact of development, the design for Tibbals II maximized open space to foster habitat areas for native species of plants and animals. A white roof minimizes the heat-island effect.

Otterness said, low-emitting materials were used to improve indoor air quality.


Neal Signature Homes has unveiled a new model in Lakewood Ranch — the Bellevista in the Highlands section of Country Club East.

"People who have delayed the purchase of their retirement homes are returning to the market," said Charlene Neal, president of Charlene Neal PureStyle. "These people are still looking for value, but want upgraded features and things that are important to them, like open floor plans, great kitchen details, and entry presence — all features of a "jewel box" home.

"We used more formal fabrics in the casual, open floor plan," said Neal.

The Bellevista model is one of four new floor plans from Neal Signature Homes in Highlands. It has 2,688 square feet with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a three-car garage. Two houses sold in advance of the model opening. Homes range from 2,300 to 2,756 square feet, with prices starting in the low $400,000s.

Last modified: June 21, 2013
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