West Klosterman Preserve
Frequently Asked Questions
The PCSB purchased the land to build a school with funds designated in the PCSB’s budget and is an asset of the PCSB. If a PCSB asset is sold the funds must be accounted as a return for the sale of the asset and the funds raised help pay for educational needs. Although we pay taxes to both the PCSB and the County of Pinellas, they are two separate entities. Their funds are not mixed.
All funds raised will remain in the 501(c)(3) charity, as required by law, and if not used as designated, must be used for a similar purpose. As a 501(c)(3) organization, WK Preservation Group Inc. is not permitted to return funds donated nor are we permitted to use those funds for purposes outside of their organization documents. Our IRS 501 (c (3) determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service states “The WK Preservation Group Inc., established in 2020, to promote the preservation of undeveloped land in the coastal and upland area of west central Florida to maintain its native character for the benefit of native flora and fauna, improve the ecosystem biodiversity, and reduce the carbon footprint.” So, any funds received must be utilized for that purpose. If the WK Preservation Group is unsuccessful or there are excess funds, these funds would be held until the next project that fulfills that purpose stated above. For this reason, we have partnered with the Pinellas Community Foundation, also a 501(c)(3), with a 50-year history, who can work with those donors who want to contribute larger amounts with a restriction on use to pledge their contribution. Pledges can be tied to a specific project’s success.
The PCSB purchased the property in 1990 with the intention of building a school. At some point after they recognized they no longer needed to build a school on the site and investigated building a bus barn instead. When they surveyed the property for that use, they realized it was in a Flood Plain and not suitable for that use. They held onto the property for several years and approximately 3 years ago the property was designated as property to be sold to raise funds for other infrastructure needs. In December 2019 the PCSB posted the property for sale on a site used by developers to bid on similar properties and in January 2020 had selected the Hemmer Group’s bid of $3.35 Million as the highest bidder. The Hemmer Group was prepared to sign this sales contract when a neighbor noticed a group of people at the property and went to see what was happening. Neighbors had not been notified of the pending sale, nor had any signage been placed on the property indicating it was up for sale, and this neighbor quickly let others know that the property was about to be sold for development. Hence, the formation of the WK Preservation Group.
The developer’s contract with the Hemmer Group was never finalized and in June of 2021 WK Preservation Group Inc. and Pinellas County Schools signed a Contract for Sale of the Property to WKPG. That contract had a deadline to purchase the preserve for $3 million by July 1. 2022. The deadline was missed, but PCS offered to extend the time for the sale as long as needed. With the recent decision by Pinellas County to partner with WKPG to acquire the property, the most likely arrangement will be a contract between the County and Pinellas County Schools to buy the property, with a second agreement in which WKPG’s funding is donated to the County for the acquisition of the property as a preserve.
No, everyone is a volunteer and all Board Members have also donated funds and personal time to help saving the West Klosterman Preserve. Many other volunteers and donors serve as team members. (KC)
The money the School Board receives from this sale will go directly into their funds available for infrastructure and facilities.
7/1/2022 has passed and the sales contract we had with PCSB has lapsed. But our campaign to raise $3 million to save the West Klosterman Preserve will continue until we have a success.
Success, we celebrate! And then we look for the next project.
If we are unsuccessful…