Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Motor coach group maps demands for return of rally to Hernando

BROOKSVILLE — Luring the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association back to Hernando County could be a pricey proposition.

County officials have received a formal request from the group's president for improvements that would be required at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport before the group would consider returning for its annual winter rally.

County Commissioner Dave Russell said he believes the county has to be sure the financial benefits would outweigh what could be significant costs. County Administrator Len Sossamon said his staff is gathering cost details, but his initial thought was that the price tag would be in the millions.

The organization is asking for 1,000 or more 25- by 50-foot pads to accommodate motor homes, with at least half of those equipped to provide electrical, water and sewer hookups. Four more dump stations would also be needed for dry campers that have water hookups, wrote Jim Duncan, president of the association.

In addition, the association needs a building that could seat between 2,000 and 3,000 people for entertainment purposes and a second building for use by vendors and for workshops and seminars. The second building would need to be able to hold 300 vendors with 10- by 10-foot spaces, with electricity available.

"Most of the above has been discussed with you and are the main necessities for putting on a rally,'' Duncan wrote to Sossamon. "If you were able to provide the above, not only would FMCA grace your area but many others as well."

He went on to say that the group enjoyed its stay in Hernando for the past 16 years "and we hope to return to your area in the future.''

Just before this year's rally, the group notified the county that it was disappointed that Hernando officials had not made improvements for its stay and that the 2015 rally would move to Sarasota. Seeing the annual rally as an economic boon for the community, county officials agreed to consider the group's needs, but have some concerns.

"The first thing is that we are an airport,'' Russell said. "It was great to have the motor coaches there all those years . . . but in terms of making these kinds of improvements, it would be difficult.''

The county would likely have to use tourist tax dollars or general fund money to pay for nonaviation improvements, he said.

"Obviously, we'd love to accommodate, but it has to be cost effective,'' Russell said. "It's a big ask.''

The association would have to make a long-term commitment, he said. But he also noted that participation in the rally has been declining. Where several thousand motor coaches were involved in the early years, now attendance is in the hundreds.

"The new generation is more inclined to travel differently,'' Russell said. "They stay in hotels rather than tooling around in motor coaches.''

Sossamon said the county staff will evaluate and take the issue to the County Commission. The bottom line, he said, is, "Do we want to build something that is permanent for a temporary event?''

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Motor coach group maps demands for return of rally to Hernando 03/05/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 5, 2014 10:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fred Clutterbuck poses for a photo in front of the "Dunkirk" movie poster at the Cobb Theatre in Tyrone on Friday. Clutterback is a survivor of the Dunkirk evacuation. [EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
  2. Clearwater driver charged as 10th person dies in sweltering San Antonio truck


    SAN ANTONIO — The Clearwater driver of a sweltering Texas tractor-trailer was charged Monday with transporting immigrants illegally, resulting in the deaths of 10 people.

    James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, left, arrives at the federal courthouse for a hearing, Monday, July 24, 2017, in San Antonio. Bradley was arrested in connection with the deaths of multiple people packed into a broiling tractor-trailer. [Associated Press]
  3. Bank of Tampa expanding into Sarasota


    TAMPA — The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota County. It opened a loan office this month in downtown Sarasota at 1858 Ringling Blvd., which will be converted to a full-service branch within the year, the company said in a release Monday.

    The Bank of Tampa is expanding to Sarasota. Charles Murphy, pictured, will lead the Sarasota branch. | [Courtesy of The Bank of Tampa]
  4. Jeb Bush: Anthony Scaramucci will help Trump


    WASHINGTON - Before he discovered unyielding love for Donald Trump, Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, was a Jeb Bush man.

    Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director
  5. Tampa Bay home prices still climbing, though more slowly

    Real Estate

    Tampa Bay home prices rose again in June, although the once-torrid pace of increases shows signs of slowing.

    This three story home in Port Richey's gated Harborpointe sold for $1.15 million in June, making it the top sale in Pasco County for the month.
[Penny Perry]