Pondering the pavement

Dan and Theresa Milnick, part time Citrus Springs residents, head west on Fort Island Trail in this 2017 photo. Citrus County commissioners want to start planning for a multi-purpose path along Fort Island Trail between U.S. 19 and the beach.

THE ISSUE: County’s legislative wish list.

OUR OPINION: Set priorities apart from “wishes.”

Citrus County Commissioners recently discussed a wish list of projects they would like to seek the state’s help in funding.

Each year, local government and involved citizens address the county’s legislative delegation — this year it is Rep. Ralph Massullo and Sen. Wilton Simpson — and give them what they would consider priorities in the community. The delegation then will choose some of those projects to include in the state appropriation process.

The county’s priority list includes:

-- $2 million for the next phase of the Old Homosassa septic-to-sewer project.

-- $6.85 million to prepare the Inverness Airport Business Park for development.

-- Unspecified funding to begin design of a bike trail on Fort Island Trail between U.S. 19 and Fort Island Gulf Beach.

-- Continued funding for road projects, particularly the widening of U.S. 41 between Inverness and Hernando.

-- Creation of a $10 “scallop stamp” to fund education and research to keep the scallop population thriving.

These are all worthwhile projects, but not every project will get into the appropriation process and even fewer will survive voting and/or a governor veto.

We feel it is important to weigh the needs of the county, so when it comes to fighting for a “wish” or a critical “need,” the delegation has some guidance.

Two connected items will have significant bearing on the future of the county — transportation and the economy. Commerce cannot exist and grow unless it has a solid transportation foundation designed to move goods efficiently and at a low cost.

Widening U.S. 41 between Inverness and Hernando certainly falls within that important “need.” So does preparing the Inverness Airport Business Park for development.

We are not suggestion the rest of the county’s wish list is meaningless, but making certain things a priority is essential.

The legislative delegation meets from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness. To get on the agenda, contact Massullo’s office at 352-527-4510 or email adele.hembree@myfloridahouse.gov before noon Wednesday, Sept. 18.

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(1) comment

CitrusCo Citizen

Of course there will NEVER be worthwhile projects such as planting a tree for every tree bulldozed, restore wetlands that have been drained, protect wetlands from salt water intrusion, clean up all lyngbaea from all springs, creeks, rivers, and bays along the coast of Citrus County as well as inland lakes (money-makers) such as those around Inverness, the county seat. Set up new regulations for protecting habitat for the endangered species of Citrus County, such as the Florida Scrub Jay, the state bird, gopher turtles, and the indigo snake. Improve and control the crush of tubers on the rivers of Citrus County. Create more safe, multiuse, and shaded trails for hiking and biking. Stop pumping permits from the springs for the profit of large water bottling corporations such as Nestles. Create safe code-compliant hurricane shelters/community/recreation centers for communities in larger towns such as Brooksville, Inverness, Crystal River, Homosassa, Floral City, etc.

What novel ideas--even one would be wonderful. Saving the Nature Coast would be real progress, instead of destroying it. But from what I see, this will never, ever happen. Unless . . .

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