- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The following is a response by Dennis Damato, county commissioner District 1, to Mr. Ken Brown’s letter to the editor on May 31, 2012.
+ + +
On July 26, 2011, the Citrus County Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 not to join the city of Crystal River in a lawsuit to sue Levy County over the proposed Tarmac King Road Mine project.
This was after a report presented by Public Works Director Mr. Ken Frink showed the mine would only produce a 2 percent increase in traffic on U.S. 19 south through the city of Crystal River.
Also placed on the record before our board’s unanimous decision were the following facts:
+ U.S. 19 has recently been resurfaced from north of Crystal River to Chiefland.
+ Two new bridges now span the barge canal at a cost of $45 million funded by the Florida Department of Transportation.
+ The level of service on U.S. 19 in Citrus and Levy counties is more than adequate to handle this specific proposed truck traffic increase and two new nuclear power plants in Levy County.
To date, Levy County has prevailed in the courts over the mine issue, which is now in the environmental impact phase of the project.
In an article I wrote, “Port Citrus a boon for county,” published in the Citrus County Chronicle on July 17, 2011, I stated Port Citrus had the ability to handle and bulk-ship limestone products from existing and new sources.
Recent history has proven that to be a true statement, as limestone boulders produced at the Cemex mine were shipped from Port Citrus to Manatee County for a jetty project. If not shipped at the rate of 1,000 tons per barge, the material would have come through the city of Crystal River by truck. Those trucks would also pass back through Crystal River on U.S. 19 to the mine for reloading.
I would like to address my commitment to the city of Crystal River.
I am a 40-year resident of Citrus County.
I am also a 30-plus-year city taxpayer, as my wife and I own, manage, and maintain “Cracker-style” architectural themed commercial properties at 404, 427 and 430 N.E. Third St. in the city of Crystal River, adjacent to the Walgreens drug store.
In addition, from 1996 to 2000 I purchased all of the blighted buildings behind Walgreens. The buildings were demolished, the property cleaned up and the parcel of land was sold to Mr. Bob Hilger, who has just completed his $3 million facility for the memory-impaired.
As the volunteer chairman of the city of Crystal River Community Redevelopment Agency from 1988 to 2004 when I was elected District 1 commissioner, my leadership helped produce millions of dollars of grant funding for commercial building facade renovations, streetscape improvements, the pier at the end of Third Street, and the start of the Riverwalk behind Cracker’s restaurant.
My vision and efforts helped the Community Redevelopment Agency to achieve the Florida Waterfront Community Designation and grant funding, the Cross Town Rail project, the acquisition and historic preservation grant for the Seminole Club, and the acquisition of the land for King’s Bay Park without grant matching funds.
My workers and I physically assisted the Crystal River Lions Club to restore the Train Depot with local and state historic preservation funds.
In summation, I proudly use the words: “accountability,” “integrity” and “vision” on all of my campaign signs.
Tangible physical proof and evidence-based facts of my commitment and work for the betterment of the city of Crystal River are clearly visible for your investigation.
You will find the results of the investment of my time, financial resources, and the implementation of a vision for my love of the city, its residents, guests and visitors, in all of the items I have mentioned.
If you ask the people I have worked with in the community for several decades as a volunteer, property- and business owner, and as the District 1 commissioner, you will find I always have and always will have the best interests of the city of Crystal River in my heart.