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From Cowboys To Cul-De-Sacs, Deseret Ranch Exec Discusses Central Florida's Future

Erik Jacobsen, President of Deseret Ranch and a key player in Central Florida’s explosive growth, will be a keynote speaker Economic Club of Florida on Thursday.

Deseret Ranch is proposing the biggest development in Florida history. It wants to turn a tract of land six-times the size of Manhattan from cow pastures and alligator swamps into a dozen residential neighborhoods.

Environmentalists are worried about the loss of tens of thousands of acres of wilderness near the headwaters of St. Johns and Kissimmee rivers. However, one of the biggest environmental groups, Audubon of Florida, says the Deseret plan is preferable to breaking up the land into smaller parcels and encouraging sprawl.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.