The latest update for the extension of Suncoast Parkway 3 to continue north from SR44 up through Citrus County to parallel I-75 north past Jacksonville has been put on the back burner. FDOT will be concentrating on relieving traffic on I-75 by widening I-75 and making other improvements.
Info on current activities of the Task Force
The Suncoast Parkway and all related
projects are very important for our county
and community groups to maintain
updates. This area will hold all links to
More information about upcoming
meetings will be available on the project
website at ww.i75relief.com Please direct
any questions or comments to Hui Wei Shen,
FDOT Project Manager, by phone at
(850) 414-4911, or by email at Huiwei.Shen@dot.state.fl.us.
The Florida Channel has agreed with FDOT to
videotape all remaining I-75 Relief Task Force
meetings. FDOT is also negotiating for live-
streaming the remaining Task Force meetings.
Two free Florida-friendly gardening workshops offered in April
Right plant, right place
Citrus County Utilities Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program is offering a free gardening workshop on April 4, 2017 from 2:00-3:30 pm. Once established the right plant is often sustainable without additional supplemental watering. Choosing appropriate plant materials, planting them correctly and managing them wisely, ensures a gardens success. Classes are held at the Citrus County Extension Service building located at 3650 W Sovereign Path in Lecanto. Please contact Steven Davis at (352) 527-5708 to confirm your participation.
Creating a Florida-friendly Landscape
Citrus County Utilities Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program is offering a free gardening workshop on April 18, 2017 from 2:00-3:30 pm. Plan before you plant is an important concept when developing sustainable garden ideas. Basic principles of landscape design include: site evaluation, selection and placement of the proper materials and establishment practices for newly installed sustainable gardens. “What is and how to create a Florida-friendly Landscape” is the theme of this workshop. Classes are held at the Citrus County Extension Service building located at 3650 W Sovereign Path in Lecanto. Please contact Steven Davis at (352) 527-5708 to confirm your participation.
Please also see ENR tab on menu as many items have been moved and new items appear! Stay informed!!
Contact: Cynthia Oswald, Public Information Officer
Landfill Hours for Good Friday, April 14, 2017
The Citrus County Central Landfill will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 2017
Citrus County Utilities Promotes EPA’s “Fix a Leak Week” March 20 - 26
As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ongoing We’re for Water campaign, this year’s Fix a Leak Week encourages Americans to help put a stop to the more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted from household leaks each year.
Sponsored by EPA’s WaterSense® program, Fix a Leak Week is March 20 through 26, 2017. In support of We’re for Water, Citrus County Utilities is promoting finding and fixing residential leaks in Citrus County.
“Leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water in an average home every year—the amount of water it takes to wash 270 loads of laundry,” said Debra Burden, water conservation manager, Department of Water Resources. “As a WaterSense partner, we are encouraging consumers to find and fix leaks to save water in our community.”
To help save water for future generations, Citrus County Utilities is asking consumers to check, twist, and replace:
- Check for leaks. Look for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Also check for toilets with silent leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank, waiting 10 minutes, and seeing if color appears in the bowl before you flush. Don’t forget to check irrigation systems and spigots too.
- Twist and tighten hose and pipe connections. To save water without a noticeable difference in flow in your bathroom, twist on a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator.
- Replace the fixture if necessary. Look for WaterSense labeled models, which are independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models.
In many cases, fixture replacement parts pay for themselves quickly and can be installed by handy do-it-yourselfers or local plumbing professionals. Irrigation professionals certified through a WaterSense labeled program can also check your systems for leaks. Visit www.epa.gov/watersense to find WaterSense labeled products or an auditor in your area.
Concerned with preserving our nation’s water supply, Citrus County Utilities and Sugarmill Woods associations are hosting a Fix a Leak Week water conservation expo on Friday, March 24, 2017, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at the Sugarmill Woods Country Club. All residents are encouraged to attend and learn more about saving our water.
For more information on Fix a Leak Week, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.
March 8th Meeting with Zane Provost one of our CCC 'Jim Bitter' Science Scholarship.
Zane Provost explaining his water project
Zane Provost receiving check from President Janet Barek
Charles Guenthner from Tom Mize -Govt'l
North Citrus Civic Association
Amy Meek discussing Chuck Dixon telling of student
Suncoast 2 Opposition Seeking Funding
Suncoast 2 is planned to be a 4 lane (approved for 8 lanes) toll road from the Hernando/Citrus county line north to
SR 44 in Citrus County. No one is sure, except maybe FDOT, where Suncoast 2 will go after SR 44. It could go north to Norvel Bryant (CR486) or terminate at 44, sending traffic east through Inverness to I-75 or to US 41 to go to points north towards Ocala and Gainesville or to a very crowded US 19 in the center of Crystal River. The public has been left in the dark about this mysterious route.
The projected traffic on Suncoast 2 to SR 44 is woefully small much like the north section of the existing Suncoast. It is noteworthy that many years after completion of the Suncoast Parkway the road does not generate enough in tolls to pay for itself. Extending the road into Citrus County will not produce enough revenue to pay for the bonds. Yet the state is willing to spend $257 million on this 13 mile stretch into Citrus County. Governor Scott put $150 M into the budget for it but won't say why or where it is coming from. One can only speculate about the intent and feasibility as no studies have been done to assess the impact of ending at 44 or going “somewhere north” and not to US 19 as was the original plan.
The I-75 task force concluded that improvements to I-75 should be the first priority. But as long as Suncoast 2 remains on the books routes other than I-75 are likely to dominate. Certainly other cities like Inverness and neighborhoods will suffer if these alternative routes prevail.
A non-profit has been formed to stop Suncoast 2 until the northern route is known and all stakeholders have been empowered. The name is: Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp. We are seeking donations for legal help. Donations can be sent to Friends of ETNA Turpentine Camp, PO Box 75, Floral City, Florida 34436. Below is a link to articles from the Dec/Jan edition of the Suncoast Standard that gives information on ETNA and the history of the proposed road.
The Task Force did not approve as first on its list the construction of this new road west of I-75 but put it last. Its first choice was to improve I-75 and also promote traffic taking alternate routes west of I-75, specifically SR 44 from I-75 in Wildwood to this new SC 2 segment ending at SR 44 in the middle of Citrus County. Governor Scott for unknown reasons put in last year's budget $150 M to make this road go. Total cost for the road is $257 M or over 1/4 of a BILLION DOLLARS to go where? There is no approval from the Task Force to build any further in the near future. We do know it will destroy the Etna Turpentine Camp that is on the National Register and actually was a town up until 1926 and part of the main industry then in Citrus County and in Florida. It's a lost part of history as they used leased convict labor comprised mainly of African-Americans arrested by local sheriffs on trumped up minor charges and forced to work in horrible conditions and be whipped if they did not make their quota. We know also that it will destroy 700 acres of the Withlacoochee State Forest which it traverses for 7 miles. The SC 2 also runs in its entirety over the Brooksville Ridge which is the main recharge area for the first magnitude coastal springs that are home to the manatees of world fame. SWFWMD actually in its infinite wisdom approved the road for being eight lane and allows them to use closed depressions for drainage ponds. The Floridan Aquifer in Citrus County has no confining clay layer to speak of and these depressions are indicators of fractures and conduits in the karst geology of the Brooksville Ridge. So where does road pollution and spills go? Right to the springs!!! I learned all this from SWFWMD's own research which they refused to follow as the directors now are all yes men to Governor Scott just like all the other water boards. Scott's $150 M could be better spent on the Everglades projects. It's a lot of money!!! People don't seem to get that. This is not pocket change. And for a 13 mile road in a county with just 140,000 residents with the second highest poverty rate in the state and a population 1/3rd of which is over 65. What's the purpose here, Governor Scott? So please consider supporting our efforts to stop this totally useless expenditure of tax dollars.
Wawa eyeing Citrus County RaceTrac on track for Four Corners By Michael D. Bates
Wawa, which has achieved almost a cult
following among sandwich and coffee connoisseurs, is in negotiations to open its first store in Citrus County.
If successful, it would be located on the southeast corner of County Road 491 and 486 in Lecanto.
But wait — there’s more.
The county has a development agreement in hand from RaceTrac, which plans to build its newest gas station/convenience store at one of the most heavily traveled intersections of the county — the southwest corner of C.R. 491 and State Road 44. Plus, negotiations remain under way for the long-awaited new Taco Bell on U.S. 19 in Homosassa. Throw in a new Wendy’s restaurant, and that’s four new options for county residents.
Barring any obstacles in the final permitting stage, most of these locations could open this year.
Wawa devotees have been known to travel long distances to visit the gas station with the funny name, which is a native American word for the Canada goose.
Ed Dickinson, president-broker for Walter Dickinson of Tampa Bay Inc., said the Wendy’s franchisee that owns 4 acres on the southeast corner of County Road 491 and 486 in Lecanto is negotiating with Wawa to finalize the deal. If successful, Wawa would occupy the “hard corner” of that intersection and Wendy’s the “off-corner” just to the east. There would be an entrance off both main roads.
If all goes well, it could open by the fourth quarter of 2017, said Dickinson, whose company helps with site selections.
The sandwich shop/gas station/convenience chain is popular in other markets and has been expanding in recent years. Because Wawa sells gas at lower prices, it tends to create competition in the area among neighboring stations.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa has more than 640 convenience retail stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and central Florida. It started building stores in the Sunshine State in 2012 and has been steadily expanding.
RaceTrac has submitted paperwork to the county to build at C.R. 491 and S.R. 44, sometimes called Four Corners. It still must go through other permitting steps and the county commission for approval.
But RaceTrac spokeswoman Karissa Bursch is optimistic that groundbreaking will take place in the next two months, with an anticipated opening at the beginning of the fourth quarter. She anticipates a mix of 15 to 20 full- and part-time employees. The store will have 18 fueling stations.
Bursch said this will be the chain’s latest store model, with more modern architecture, expanded indoor and outdoor seating and more food and beverage options.
The sign along the east side of U.S. 19, just north of West Homosassa Trail, has been there for about 15 months. But Dickinson said Taco Bell still plans to build.
He said the property owner continues to work through some permitting and access issues with the county, including completing paving a stub-out that would allow customers to access the restaurant through the Dollar General.
Dickinson said there are also development issues with the Florida Department of Transportation, which is widening that stretch of U.S. 19.
Don Taylor, president of the Economic Development Authority for Citrus County, said even though these kinds of retailers typically pay lower wages, they still enhance the county by providing high-paying — albeit temporary — construction jobs. It also shows that Citrus County is still a desirable place for chains and may entice other investors into the area.
“Some of these retails coming in, they’ve done their demographics and they see there’s money to be spent here,” Taylor said.
Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-5660 or email@example.com
Transit offers new program for residents 60 and over
The Citrus County Transit’s Transportation Disadvantaged Advisory Board has approved a new option for residents sixty years of age and over. The new program invites any resident that is age sixty and over to get a free pass to ride the Deviated Fixed Route, and have a discount on the Para Transit service. This opportunity is not income based and residents will need to show proof of age for the bus pass to be issued. Passes and applications are available at the Citrus County Transit Center, located at 1300 S. Lecanto Hwy. as well as on the Citrus County BOCC website http://www.citruscountytransit.com/. For more information, call our office at 352-527-7630.