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.”