The Gilchrist County Commission held their first public meeting in February on Monday at 4 p.m. The five-member board adopted Resolution 2021-02 which opposes the new construction of the proposed Florida toll road (M-Cores Suncoast Connector) up through Gilchrist County.
Commissioner Darrell Smith spoke out during the discussion of this resolution, reminding the board that former Commission Chairman Gray asked the Commission to keep an open mind involving the M-Cores Suncoast Connector project and what it could possibly do for Gilchrist County. Mr. Smith pointed out that he didn’t want the toll highway to be constructed up through the middle of Gilchrist County. The Commission has not been informed of the actual route, which the M-Cores toll road project will take connecting central Florida to northern Florida and the panhandle.
The Commission identified that Gilchrist County places a great value on the community’s cultural, historical, agricultural and environmental resources and the role these play in sustaining the community’s rural lifestyle and heritage.
Commissioner Kenrick Thomas made a motion to approve Resolution 2021-02 to oppose the Suncoast Connector toll highway from coming through Gilchrist County. Commissioner Marion Poitevint gave a second to the motion before the Commission voted unanimous to oppose this proposed toll highway.
Attorney David M Lang, Jr. explained that the counties of Citrus, Levy, Jefferson, Taylor and now Gilchrist have approved resolutions that oppose this toll road project from passing through their county.
The Resolution requests Governor DeSantis, the FDOT and the FL Legislature to avoid proposing funding for any new limited access roadway or turnpikes to or through Gilchrist County without adequate consideration of the public’s wishes, gathered through adequate public input and without a properly identified route early in the process.
In the first segment of Public Participation, Wannee resident Suzannah Heyde addressed the Commission to ask if SW 80th Street could be paved and widen. She explained that her concerns and the residents that live all along this road are for the safety of people traveling this limerock roadway. She pointed out that last week the road conditions had diminished, it was becoming unsafe to drive. Then the Gilchrist County Road Department’s road grader made its routine grading through the area and improved it greatly. Then a day or so later, a heavy rain came and the heavy traffic once again made the road unsafe to travel.
The portion of the roadway that Ms. Heyde referred to concerns a two-mile area from County Road 341 west to Wannee Boat Ramp. The Commission has considered submitting this portion of the roadway to the Florida Department of Transportation as a possible SCRAP or SCOP road project.
Commission Chairperson Sharon Langford asked County Administrator Bobby Crosby for an update on the Spring Ridge community proposed paving project. The Commission’s Report agenda for this meeting allowed the Commission to discuss the road improvement project. The material to be used on this road is limerock and asphalt millings. Mr. Crosby reported that Gilchrist County staff can prepare information involving the limerock and millings material and send letters to each of the property owners in the Spring Ridge subdivision on the estimated cost of this type of reconstruction. The board summarized that the cost of reconstruction of the subdivision roads could be reduced to $500,000. A motion by
Commission adopts “NO BUILD” Option on any portion of the Suncoast Connector Toll Highway that might be built in Gilchrist
Commissioner Marion Poitevint to direct staff to prepare documentation to send certified mail and letters to each of the property owners to let the property owners know that Gilchrist County is working to improve the roads in this subdivision. Commissioner Darrell Smith gave a second to the motion before the board approved the motion by a unanimous vote.
The Commission Chairperson Langford asked for an update on the construction of the new Gilchrist County Jail. The Commission will have staff members and Commissioner Darrell Smith meet with Sheriff Schultz to further discuss the costs of construction of the facility and the costs of staffing the new facility. This information will be presented to the Commission after their meeting has been held.