For many years the Florida Rock mine just north of Brooksville has provided good jobs within this community. The company has supported the community through charitable donations and volunteer work as well as educational programs and sponsorships.
With the mining nearly complete, there were basically two choices: leave the land as it is or continue to invest in it so that it can continue to provide value to the community. We decided to continue to invest in it.
For more than four years, we've been working through the process at all levels, gaining the support of our neighbors and the community and ensuring that, when the time comes, the property can continue to be an economic asset for this community.
Yes, we recognize that these are uncertain economic times. But we also know these times won't last forever. This is not a plan for today or even tomorrow. Just like our mining plan, this is a plan for the long term.
Quarry Preserve is designed to provide several different kinds of lifestyles for different kinds of people. It is planned to be a place for families and for seniors, for business owners and for people who work in those businesses. In short, Quarry Preserve is a community, with a town center, places to work, places to eat and shop and most importantly, a place for recreation with lots of sidewalks, trails, parks and preserved open space.
We've designed the project to restore certain environmental features and enhance others. The nearly 1,000 acres in the Quarry Nature Preserve and adjoining wildlife corridor will be augmented with native plantings, which will provide habitat for our native wildlife. Not only does this add value for the wildlife it also adds value to the community.
Quarry Preserve will offer a healthy lifestyle. With wide sidewalks and many pathways, there are opportunities to walk or ride bikes for exercise, to grab a bite to eat or even to get to work. Making such features available to residents promotes a healthier, happier community.
Quarry Preserve will actually add additional water supply capacity over and above its needs thus providing an additional source of water for other areas of the county in need. Because we've designed an irrigation system that relies primarily on storm water, significantly less groundwater will be needed to serve the project.
Quarry Preserve has had a thorough review. The plan has been reviewed by the county staff and the county commission; by the state departments of Community Affairs, Transportation and Environmental Protection, the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council and other similar reviewing agencies.
We have done what every project must do: Account for schools, fire and police services, roadways, parks and utilities services. We've provided in great detail what we plan to do, where and how we will connect to and with the surrounding community and how we will protect the environment while we do so.
We've worked with our neighbors who have been consistently supportive. Where there were concerns, we addressed them.
On Tuesday, our project will be reviewed by the Board of County Commissioners. If the commission votes to approve our plan, it goes back to the Department of Community Affairs for a final review.
This has been an extensive process. We're proud of the results. We are confident Quarry Preserve will add value to the community and create great (and varied) lifestyles and jobs for Hernando County residents for many years to come.
Matt McNulty is project manager for Quarry Preserve