Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Cyclists, pedestrians to have easier trip in Spring Hill, Hernando Beach

BROOKSVILLE — Three long-anticipated sidewalk and bicycle trail projects moved a step closer this week when the Hernando County Commission approved agreements with the Florida Department of Transportation that will translate into more than $1.2 million to help pay the bill.

The projects are at Kass Circle in Spring Hill and along Osowaw and Shoal Line boulevards in Hernando Beach.

• A sidewalk will run across the north side of Spring Hill Drive from existing walkways at Kass Circle to the west and Kass Circle to the east. Pedestrians now must walk through parking lots and business driveways to get across that congested stretch.

The sidewalk was one of many suggestions brought up by residents and business owners during visioning workshops to create a revitalization program for Spring Hill Plaza and the surrounding Kass Circle area. The effort was coordinated by professor Trent Green and the Florida Center for Community Design & Research at the University of South Florida. The county received a grant from the state Department of Economic Opportunity to conduct the study.

The county has sought another grant to help the neighborhood by providing traffic calming along Spring Hill Drive, according to Ron Pianta, assistant county administrator for planning and development.

For the Kass Circle sidewalk, the DOT will reimburse the county $64,200 for the construction, which is expected to start in late winter or early spring.

"That's long overdue,'' said Commissioner Diane Rowden.

• The second project consists of 5-foot shoulders on Shoal Line Boulevard from Osowaw north to Jewfish Drive. The added space will allow for a bike lane and give pedestrians more space, Brian Malmberg, the assistant county administrator for operations, told commissioners. The road also will be repaved.

The state is expected to reimburse the county up to $669,700 for that work, which also likely will begin late this year or early next.

That 1 1/2-mile stretch "is going to be a great addition to our community,'' said commission Chairman Wayne Dukes, who represents Hernando Beach.

• Then there will be the completion of a pathway for those traveling between Hernando Beach and U.S. 19.

A bike lane and sidewalk along Osowaw Boulevard will cost an estimated $685,600, with $486,402 coming from the state and the rest from the county's transportation trust fund.

Contact Barbara Behrendt at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

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