Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Motor coach rally officials won't rule out return to Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — As hundreds of visitors departed over the weekend from the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association rally at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, they left behind a glimmer of hope of returning someday.

The association announced last week that its 2015 rally will move to the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. According to the association's president, Jim Duncan, Hernando County officials did not follow through with the facilities the association needs to avoid red ink in its financial reports this year.

Late last week, however, County Administrator Len Sossamon met with Duncan, and Duncan left the door open for a possible return to Brooksville in 2016.

He told county officials there were several things the county would have to provide if the organization were to ever come back to Hernando.

Among the requirements: between 600 and 1,000 recreational vehicle spaces with water and electrical hook-ups, dump stations, a building that could seat 2,000 people for entertainment purposes, another building for use by vendors and for workshops, and improved access to the airport.

Duncan said Tuesday that he expected to get a formal list to Sossamon by the end of the month.

"This will let them see what they could do for us,'' he said. "We're not asking for anything extraordinary.''

While Duncan said this year's rally went well, there were just 573 motor coaches in attendance, down from last year. Part of the reason was a conflict with the scheduling of another a rally in another state, he said, but some association members also didn't attend "because they're tired of coming to tents and getting wet."

The cost of the tents and generators has been among the biggest issues for the association.

Even as the rally was opening last week, Bradley Dye of Corporate Jet Solutions, the airline repair company that took over the old Brooksville Air Center property at the airport, offered the use of his 22,000-square-foot hangar, access to power and fuel at his cost.

But Duncan said that the offer came too late. He signs contracts for tents for the rally more than six months in advance.

Sossamon said offers such as Dye's might help the county develop the type of infrastructure that rally organizers say they need to consider a return to Brooksville. But the discussions have only begun.

Once the county receives a formal list of requirements from the motor coach association, Sossamon will meet with his staff to determine the cost and to talk about what the public and private sectors might be able to provide.

Then the economic feasibility of the plan — including how much local businesses benefit from the rally — needs to be determined, he said.

Discussions by the County Commission, along with public input, would be the next step.

Sossamon said he didn't get the impression that Duncan believes Sarasota has all of the answers the association seeks — just a better deal than what is offered now in Brooksville. He noted, for instance, that Sarasota doesn't have the number of RV pads with hook-ups that Duncan seeks.

"What we're going to have to do is vet and investigate'' and answer some questions, Sossamon said.

He questioned whether putting down concrete pads for the RVs might take away from the airport's primary purpose, which is aviation. He also said there might be another place in Hernando to put the rally, possibly the fairgrounds.

Policymakers ultimately will have to decide whether the benefits of the rally outweigh the costs, the administrator said.

"We have to remember,'' he said, "we're talking about building a permanent facility for a temporary activity.''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1434.

Comments
Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

Romo not the reason, but Rays streak ends at 6 with 5-2 loss to Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif.  – Doubling down on their innovativeness and starting veteran reliever Sergio Romo for a second straight day worked out fine for the Rays on Sunday.It was the less effective pitchers who followed, and the ineffectiveness of...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as the coach at USF, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," Tagg...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rivers of molten rock

Rivers of molten rock

U.S. Geological Survey via APKilauea volcano, which began erupting more than two weeks ago on Hawaii’s Big Island and has burned dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee, has gotten more hazardous in recent days, with rivers of molten r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

Expansion Vegas advances to Stanley Cup final

WINNIPEG — Ryan Reaves scored the winning goal, Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves and the Vegas Golden Knights pushed their remarkable expansion season into the Stanley Cup final, beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday in Game 5 of the Western C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

Lightning-Capitals: Familiar ground for Capitals as they face elimination

TAMPA – Capitals G Braden Holtby basically summed up playoff life for the Capitals after Saturday's Game 5 loss in the Eastern Conference final when he said the team never makes it easy for itself."No, we don't," coach Barry Trotz agreed Sunday...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Traffic lights out at Pinellas Park intersection; drivers should avoid area

Traffic lights out at Pinellas Park intersection; drivers should avoid area

PINELLAS PARK — Traffic lights have lost power at the intersection of 66th Street N and Park Boulevard, police said.About 5:45 p.m., Pinellas Park Police announced the outage. Duke Energy is working to restore power, according to the agency. Drivers ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own.Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held at Tropicana ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

For Bolts radio duo, being fans at heart is key to their success

As the last tension-filled seconds of a tight playoff game wind down, high above the Amalie Arena ice, the play-by-play man becomes increasingly animated.Dave Mishkin, eyes bulging, face purple, jumps from his seat, holding the headset with his left ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Unveiling for

Unveiling for "Fortune Taylor Bridge" marker rained out, but celebration continues indoors

TAMPA — There’s a saying that everyone dies twice, Tampa City council member Guido Maniscalco said Sunday. Once, when they take their last breath. And again, the last time someone mentions their name.So in this case, he said, the name "Fortune Taylor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

Lightning-Capitals: In playoffs, Lightning and its town become one

TAMPA — The Lightning is a win away from a trip to the Stanley Cup final. Its Game 5 win Saturday, to take a 3-2 lead over the Washington Capitals, was another chapter of a story being written on the fly."Think about Game 1 in New Jersey,"...
Updated: 2 hours ago