PALMETTO Developers who want to build a new RV park are offering a 1927 house on the property for free — to anyone who can move it.
The historic Palmetto-area home, once nestled amid lush citrus groves, is on a 92-acre site tentatively approved Thursday by the Manatee County Planning Commission for a 499-unit RV park.
"The owner is happy to give it to anybody if somebody wants to undertake it, and cover the moving charges," said Marla Hough, who represents the developers, The Cone Corp./Cone and Graham Inc. of Tampa.
The building, a combination Mediterranean and colonial revival with prairie school architecture, is in good condition, according to Cathy Slusser, director of historical resources for the County Clerk's Office. It was built by T.G. Earle for S.W. Strickland, Slusser said.
Locals know the place as either the "Strickland House" or "Thoreson House," the latter apparently a reference to C.L. and Ona Thoreson, who bought the property from Lula and J. Henderson Brock in 1964.
In the late 1960s or early ‘70s, Steven M. and Kathleen V. Thoreson acquired the property, and in 1990 sold it to the Cone Corp., according to Slusser.
Slusser provided copies of old postcards showing the house with the headline: "Brock's Palm View Gardens."
Another postcard read: "Palm View Guest House."
The planning commission approved a rezoning request and a general development plan for the McMullen Creek RV Park at the site.
In addition to the house, the property boasts a 10-acre lake. The RV park would include amenities such as a floating dock and pool area along the lake, community recreational area, office and showers and a walkway to a canoe/kayak launch along McMullen Creek, according to county documents.
Neighbor Mike Abdishi told commissioners he is concerned about traffic, noise and water pollution the RV park would create.
He predicted diesel runoff from the RVs would escape the property, adding: "It's all going to end up in Terra Ceia Bay."
Joel Christian, county wetlands expert, said no activity will be permitted within a 50-foot wetland buffer near the McMullen Creek system, and a water treatment system would ensure the creek remained clean post-development.
The planning commission is an advisory body only. The proposal is slated to come before the Manatee County Commission for a final decision on Jan. 9.