old homosassa sidewalk

Mary Gestrich, Jim Anderson and Dennis Seibert discuss Old Homosassa's new sidewalk Thursday morning.

Sandy and Dale Sikkenga enjoy morning walks with their three dachshunds, Maggie Mae, Sassy Pants and Rosie Rae.

They’re enjoying it a lot more not having to walk in the road.

“Every day we’re on this sidewalk and we love it,” Mrs. Sikkenga said.

The Sikkengas joined county and state officials Thursday morning to dedicate the new $828,000 sidewalk that stretches 2.8 miles along Yulee Drive between U.S. 19 and Old Homosassa near Homosassa Elementary School.

“This kind of connects the community,” Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. said. “It’s economic development.”

The county commission approved the sidewalk plan in November 2018 but it was in the works for five years before that. A federal grant through the Florida Department of Transportation funded $625,000 of the project costs, Kitchen said.

With a multi-purpose path being built alongside U.S. 19 as part of the widening of that road, the new sidewalk gives bike riders access to the county line to the south and Crystal River to the north, Kitchen said.

The sidewalk winds around trees and across the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park. It also has several breaks, continuing across the street. Each crosswalk is marked.

“It took a lot of work to get around those trees,” Kitchen said. “Sometimes it’s better to do it right than do it fast.”

Still, the project was completed two months early and came in $29,000 under budget.

Jim Anderson, who has owned the Olde Mill House Gallery and Printing Museum on Yulee Drive for 30 years, said the sidewalk will give visitors a chance to take in the sights of Old Homosassa.

“It’ll slow the traffic down,” he said.

Terry Green, president of the Homosassa Civic Club, said he thinks the sidewalk will have the same effect that golf carts have had in Old Homosassa.

“We meet people who have lived here for years but never knew,” he said. “It worked that way with golf carts. The sidewalk will work that way, too.”

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Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright@chronicleonline.com.

(1) comment

RobertRoscow

While it’s great to have a sidewalk so that residents and visitors can see Old Homosassa. The BOCC supported this project but amazingly went out of their way to destroy an interpretative park through the Etna historic town that any developer would have given their left arm for because of the picturesque sand live oak draped former wagon roads of the town. It was one of the few sites in the county that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Frankly I have not heard of a county going out of its way to destroy the key part of this site and much of the oak draped roads. The Chronicle and the writer of this article attacked me personally and what essentially amounted to libel said that the only reason I spent a substantial amount of money on getting Etna listed was to stop the S.C. 2. Yes I opposed the SC 1 and 2 as obviously the SC 1 has been a total financial flop and they contradict their promotion of the Nature Coast by being totally silent on tge fact that 6.5 miles of the road will only have chain link fence that federally endangered eastern Indigo snakes can go right through as well as juvenile gopher tortoises and other small animals can go right into this “kill zone.” The buzzards can just sit on the fence and wait for dinner. The op ed against me had so much misinformation in it that it was unbelievable. Just one example was that Etna was not on some 1890 something map. There was actually a good reason for that. Etna did not exist until several years after that map but is shown on over 6 others. The author of this article actually went to the site with me and per I guess his boss’s direction again repeated the false statement that I had only got it listed because I was trying to stop the S.C. 2. Obviously if that was my devious plan it didn’t work to my advantage. The toll road goes right over it. It helps if you know the law. The National Historic Preservation Act Of 1966 actually provides 3 options. A listed site can be avoided, bypassed with minimal damage, or destroyed and a mitigation plan implemented. This was the final decision on Etna so the Chronicle totally misled the public in terms of the federal law and instead chose to vilify me. The result is that now the bike riders using the bike trail by the road will be able to enjoy a power line on the west side and a toll road on the east side. There was a very feasible option but all sorts of agencies opposed it without even reviewing the option. So this historic site’s mitigation display can be viewed at the Visitors Center for the Withlacoochee State Forest near Brooksville some 23 miles away. So the key industry of Citrus County will be on display in Hernando county. There will not be one shanty for this town of some 200 African Americans living in minimal shanties with dirt floors. The original still at Etna will be there too and a replica still. The listing of Etna however is not really about stills but a town. It’s sad that the Chronicle and this writer and others do not feel it is necessary to understand the laws and instead totally twist the truth. And when will we hear about the S.C. 2. 6.5 mile kill zone for lots of species including an endangered species and nominated species???? Please don’t blame that on me too but as far as I can tell the Nature Coast in Citrus County is gone.

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