Saturday, November 18, 2017
Business

Brooksville's Good Neighbor Trail is now worth bragging about — and using

RECOMMENDED READING


The Good Neighbor Trail actually goes somewhere now.

You can really use it. Please do use it, as a matter of fact, because the more cyclists, walkers, joggers and skaters who appear on the trail, the more others will want to join them.

Eventually, the trail will run from S Main Street in Brooksville to the Withlacoochee State Trail, 10 miles to the east.

Eventually, riders will be able to pedal from Brooksville, by way of the Withlacoochee, to Dade City or Inverness without the usual concern about being turned into road kill. The $2.1 million for the remaining 6.6 miles of trail has been set aside. Construction has been scheduled for 2016.

Eventually, I bet, cyclists will even be able to ride on the proposed Coast-to-Coast Connector trail from Brooksville to St. Petersburg or Titusville. I'm willing to bet this because I've seen the growing use of trails and the growing awareness of their economic development power, even among conservatives in Tallahassee.

But I've written enough about the future of these pathways and, particularly, about the future of the Good Neighbor Trail, which has been in the works for 18 years. I'm ready to write about the part of the trail that has already been built and what it can do for us now.

Earlier this month, inspectors signed off on the 2.5 miles of trail between Mondon Hill and Weatherly roads.

Though this might sound like just one more brick in a half-finished wall, which in a way it is, it's also a real step forward in the trail's usefulness.

Start out on a trail that's roughly a mile long, as it previously was, and you're likely to arrive at the end feeling cheated. That why there has been so little traffic since the first section opened in 2009.

But now there's enough trail for a 7-mile round trip — enough for a relaxed cruise for plenty of adult riders and more than enough for a family outing with small kids. Enough for all but the most ambitious walkers and runners.

And now the trail doesn't dump serious riders onto busy Mondon Hill. It takes them into prime cycling territory, the quiet roads east of Brooksville — roads that lead to Istachatta, where riders can pick up the Withlacoochee trail to Inverness.

That was the route my wife and I took on our hot, sunny midday ride Monday, when the deeply shaded section of the Good Neighbor was especially welcome.

When we reached our destination, Inverness, we were amazed at how the city has incorporated the nearby trail into its downtown, amazed at the variety of choices for eating, amazed, after we chose a place with sidewalk tables, at the amount of foot traffic and the feeling of bustle.

Our more isolated cousin city, which used to always strike me as just little more backward than Brooksville, has become the town we want to be. A big reason, city officials and business owners always say, is the trail.

So, it's time to start using what we have.

It's time for the city to push the idea of Brooksville as a center of fitness and recreation. A few more signs might help. So, definitely, would occasionally sweeping the accumulated sticks and leaves from the trail. Maybe it's time for someone to hold an annual bike ride showcasing the trail — part of it now, the entire stretch when it's finished.

Or, if you don't want to get that involved, you can just lace up your walking shoes or climb on a bike and get out there. You'll send the message that the Good Neighbor is a safe, scenic, usable trail.

Never has community service been so much fun.

Comments
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Updated: 12 hours ago
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17
Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of rundown cott...
Published: 11/17/17
Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Stephanie Maisonneuve visited the walled city of Cartagena, a port city off the Caribbean coast of Colombia. She rode horseback down the city’s cobbled streets clucking past flower-filled balconies and massive, wooden arched doors. The travel enthusi...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17