Preserve the beauty of Citrus County. Repair deteriorated roads. Stop North Florida Turnpike Extension. Build more work housing. Open a manatee rehabilitation center.
These are just some of the recommendations from the 85-member crowd that attended Monday’s public strategic planning meeting at the Citrus Springs Community Center in Beverly Hills.
The county is developing a strategic plan that it will use to chart local growth over the next five years.
County Commissioner Holly Davis, the lead proponent of the project, thanked attendees Monday for coming because it’s important for them to talk about their vision for Citrus County.
it is imperative that people talk about it.
“We need to be a frugal and proactive county going forward,” Davis said.
Many speakers represented the “no-build” group opposed to extending Florida’s turnpike north through Citrus County. They fear more traffic congestion and environmental destruction if the state chooses one of two potential routes that would pass through Citrus County.
Resident Art Jones, founder and president of the nonprofit One Rake at a Time Inc., received a few calls from the audience when he advocated working with the Florida Department of Transportation to bring the road to Citrus County and make it easier for tourists to visit. Crystal River manatees.
Jones also pushed for a manatee rehabilitation center, an idea Davis told the Chronicle after the meeting might have some merit.
Debbie Selsavage, of Coping With Dementia LLC, said any strategic plan must consider the “economic and cultural contribution” of older people. Plans for a dementia education facility are vital, she said.
“Any plan that’s good for seniors is good for the county,” she said.
Others pointed out that the plan needed to preserve the beauty of Citrus County and, at the same time, provide more affordable housing.
Karen Esty from Inverness said the county must review competition regulations to prevent unregulated development and traffic jams.
Esty said landfill capacity needs to be addressed to cope with new developments.
A member of the Pine Ridge Homeowners Association said the plan was to address deteriorating roads throughout the county.
He said 84% of roads in Pine Ridge are behind on improvements or need paving.
Janet Barek, president of the Citrus Springs Civic Association, said she supports holding a referendum on the general election ballot asking residents to support a four-year sales tax of half a cent or a whole cent for the express purpose of repairing the roads of the county. He would go to bed after four years.
County Administrator Randy Oliver then polled the audience asking who would support the sales tax?
About half raised their hands.
Oliver reminded the crowd that passing the referendum would require 50% plus one and that previous sales tax referendums had failed.
As of Tuesday, some forty community stakeholders will meet to discuss citizens’ comments and add theirs to the development of the strategic plan.
The strategic planning workshops will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 and Wednesday, April 6 at the Citrus County Canning Center at 3405 W. Southern St. in Lecanto.
The public is welcome, but will not be invited to join a working group or given the opportunity to participate.
The county hopes to complete the strategic planning process by the end of June.