HERNANDO BEACH — Communities connected by trails and sidewalks, better lighting of main thoroughfares and safer roads to drive are just a few of the priorities the Coastal Hernando Initiatives Program has identified.
Now members of the steering committee want their neighbors in Aripeka, Hernando Beach, Bayport, Pine Island and Weeki Wachee to share other ideas on how to make meaningful improvements to Hernando County's coastal communities.
A public visioning workshop is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Coast Guard Auxiliary Building at 4340 Calienta St. in Hernando Beach.
The program is a partnership between Hernando County officials and coastal Hernando residents who will work together to identify and carry out community improvements.
"We want to get feedback,'' said county Commissioner Rose Rocco, who heads up the committee. "We want to know what would you like Hernando Beach to look like this many years down the road.''
When the process is done, "we're hoping to get some kind of community plan,'' Rocco said.
Some of that work has already taken place. Lights have been restored to Shoal Line Boulevard, for example. Other improvements are in the works, among them the stalled Hernando Beach channel dredge.
County Administrator David Hamilton is slated to give the group an update on that project, which many coastal residents have been looking forward to because it will make the channel safer and provide an economic shot in the arm for the community.
Hamilton will also join committee member Fran Baird to describe the program's mission and the projects already on the committee's plate.
Those include plans for a boardwalk trail from the Weekiwachee Preserve entrance to Linda Pedersen Park — and eventually all the way to Rogers Park — along with emergency lanes for Shoal Line Boulevard and a series of sidewalks and trails throughout the community.
Also recently, the County Commission approved seeking funding for artificial reef enhancements and improvements to the boat ramp at Jenkins Creek.
Rocco said she hoped for a good turnout Monday. She noted that area residents and community groups that were specifically invited need to share their ideas with the committee because their input is critical.
"We want to know what's important to them as a community,'' she said.
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at email@example.com or (352) 848-1434.