Old Homosassa Sidewalks 60% Plan

This post is for my friends, neighbors and anyone else that enjoys driving through Old Homosassa’s tree canopied streets.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I received an email regarding the proposed sidewalks on Yulee Drive. 

From Fritz P. Smith,

“As discussed at the Yulee Drive Sidewalk Townhall Meeting conducted on July 31, 2014, a set of 60% complete plans will be available for review at the Citrus County Homosassa Library, 4100 South Grandmarch Avenue, Homosassa, FL 34446, beginning Monday, January 26, 2015 until Friday, February 13, 2015.  Please direct any questions or requests for additional information to Walt Eastmond at 352-527-5446 or Walt.Eastmond@bocc.citrus.fl.us.”

Terry and I went to the library on Friday to check out the 60% completed plans.

Sidewalk PlansIt took us a little while to understand the plans but once we caught on, we were able to follow the sidewalk route from Old Homosassa all the way out to 19.  It followed exactly the route that was covered in the meeting back in July

Then Terry and I started studying the Old Homosassa area.  In the section where the old sidewalk ends through the area just past the Sugarmill Ruins, seven oak trees will be removed. 

Seven very large oak trees.  The very oak trees that provide our beautiful canopy.

I want the sidewalk but not at the expense of these trees.

Just to make sure we had it right, we went to the park area and checked out the trees.

Page 3
I’ve circled the trees being removed on each page. This is page 3 in the plan. The large circle shows two trees directly across from Bressler Ct.

If I understand the plans correctly, these are the two trees across from Bressler Ct.

Bressler Ct.

Page 4
Page 4. The area right across from the Sugarmill Ruins.

By counting the other trees on this page, these are the three trees being removed. 

Old Mill TavernAnd a closer view of those trees.

Sugarmill trees

Page 5
Page 5. The sidewalk goes to the other side of Yulee Dr. No trees are marked to be removed.

I would love to have sidewalks.  But not at the expense of these trees. 

These photos might be difficult to understand.  If you haven’t checked out the plans at the library please do this week, they will only be there until this Friday, February 13. Let Mr. Eastmond know how you feel.

**** February 9, 2015

This is an update to my post from February 8, 2015, I have sent the following email to Walt Eastmond and our Commissioner Ron Kitchen

My husband and I went into the Homosassa Library on Friday to check out the 60% plans for the sidewalks in Yulee Drive. Then we followed up with a stop at the Sugarmill Ruins on Sunday to understand where the new sidewalk would run.

We have two concerns.
 
First, seven large oak trees are designated on the plans to be removed in the section where the existing sidewalk ends and just past the Sugarmill Ruins.  These trees provide the beautiful canopy over Yulee Drive and are irreplaceable.  The sidewalk will need to go around the trees.
 
Second, the crossing from the existing sidewalk to the other side of Yulee Drive is on a very dangerous curve. Drivers will not be able to see the pedestrians as they make the crossing. When we stopped at the Sugarmill Ruins yesterday, traffic was non-stop. The crossing needs to be moved closer to the Sugarmill Ruins.  There is plenty of room after Breville Ct. and before the ruins.
 
We live behind Old Homosassa in the Mason Creek area.  We have been here for over eleven years and are active members of our community.  I have a blog with a focus on Citrus County and have made a short post which further explains the tree issue.  There are some photos of the trees that will be removed that will clarify our concern.
 
Looking forward to having sidewalks but these two issues must be addressed.
 
Sincerely,
Kathy and Michael Green
 
Mr. Eastmond responded within 20 minutes:
 

Good morning Mrs. Green – Thank you for your interest in the Yulee sidewalk project and taking the time to review the 60% plans and the site.  We appreciate your comments and will forward them to our consultant preparing the plans.  

Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional comments/concerns. 

Sincerely, 

Walt Eastmond

Transportation Project Manager

Engineering Division

And Commissioner Kitchen sent an email an hour later,

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Green, 

Thank you for your concern for our community and for your well thought out comments. I am sure we will take what you say into consideration as the county continues with the planning process. 

Thank you again, 

Ron Kitchen

I feel better about the planning process but we should still stay on top of the issue!

8 thoughts on “Old Homosassa Sidewalks 60% Plan

  1. They’re just engineers. No thinking outside the box there. It’s also the excuse they’ll use not to do the project at all. “See, we had a plan, but the community said no.” You’ll need to get another engineer style plan to submit to them showing that they can simply go around the trees in question. If they can snake the sidewalk down US19 around every bump and driveway, I think they can figure out how to go around these trees. Your photos clearly show a smaller tree behind the large one that could be removed instead.
    They may have to put away the straight-edge though, and that’s what will be difficult.
    Also, keep in mind, the canopy will eventually fill in. It will take years, and will probably weaken the bases of the ones doing the stretching, but the trees will do it. Look at the set-backs on Ft.Dade Ave. But my vote is No Cutting of the Trees ! (where the Arbor Day Foundation?)
    I say, find a retired engineer/draftsman and get out there with a tape and see what can be mapped out.

    • Michelle, I plan to email our county commissioner and the person that is referenced in the email about my concerns today. I’ll also continue to spread the word in the community. Not only will we lose 7 large live oaks, the site that the crossing is indicated is very dangerous. It’s a blind curve and very dangerous. The plans are only “60%” so I think we have time to get the sidewalk moved if we have enough county residents complain.

  2. Thanks Kathy!
    They CAN go around the trees with some planning. Look at the existing sidewalk on Yulee. Starting from the end of the sidewalk and walk back to the elementary school, there are two huge oak trees that they went around. At first they said they were going to remove the trees and some people fought it and they are still there!

  3. Can you put a sign/ribbon on the trees selected to be cut down for the public to see as they drive by? “I DON”T WANT TO BE CUT DOWN” or something along this line. What a great article & photos! It really made an impact on the reality of the situation. The sidewalk is not worth the life of the trees!

    • I think that’s a great idea! But I’m hoping that I won’t have to. Expecting some response from the County Commission. I’ll let everyone know what’s happening. But, I’m hoping that everyone is emailing or calling the County Commission to voice support of our trees!

  4. I love the idea of a sidewalk in this particular area, HOWEVER NOT AT THE COST OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL trees that are a part of our community as surely as the ruins and the river itself, please please do not decimate our beautiful town with the removal of them.

    • Christine, I totally agree. Please email or call our commissioner Ron Kitchen, Transportation Project Manager Walt Eastmond, and County Administrator Randy Oliver with your concerns. The more we speak out, the more they will listen.

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