BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County took a big step toward revitalizing south Brooksville on Tuesday, cementing a partnership with the city and the long-neglected community to bring in much-needed infrastructure improvements.
While the resolution focuses on water and sewer line fixes, the overall vision for south Brooksville is much broader, explained County Administrator David Hamilton, who identified the needs of south Brooksville as a priority soon after his arrival in Hernando County two years ago.
Brooksville City Council will consider a formal acceptance of the resolution on Monday. Once approved, the city, which would be the utility provider, with support from the county, will start seeking funds for the improvements.
County utility director Joe Stapf told commissioners that money for the estimated $19 million in repairs could be available through federal economic stimulus grants. He said the project could win grants for up to 85 percent of the cost, although he presented debt repayment costs based on 50 percent loans and 50 percent grants.
He also showed commissioners an interactive map outlining where water mains and sewer lines would go through the neighborhood as well as other improvements such as a long-discussed fix for stormwater drainage problems.
The Southwest Florida Water Management district is also expected to help with some of the costs of controlling the stormwater, Stapf said.
Hamilton said much of the work will be shifting from the Community Initiatives Team on south Brooksville to government entities. Already streetlights have been approved and are due to be installed soon.
There will also be land use and zoning changes to accommodate the vision plan, and the hope is that the cleanup of the old public works compound will start soon, Hamilton said.
The resolution earned strong support from Paul Douglas, who has been a regular at the community team meetings.
"As you all know, south Brooksville is not the most pleasant place to live. This resolution says both entities are going to do something,'' Douglas said. "We need this resolution. We need a blueprint.''
In other business:
• Commissioners asked assistant county attorney Jon Jouben to research how the county could help residents fighting a construction and debris landfill in their neighborhood near the Croom Tract of the Withlacoochee State Forest.
Several residents near the landfill site asked for county help, saying the trucks will ruin the neighborhood and the dumped debris will foul their water.
Commissioners expressed concern about the impact on the area water supply. "Our position here is health, safety and welfare,'' said Commissioner Rose Rocco. "It's our responsibility to look into it.''