Save the Serenova Tract in Pasco - Say NO to the Ridge Road Extension.
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For nearly two decades now Pasco County has been petitioning the Army Corp of Engineers to build a road across the Serenova Tract in Central Pasco County. This 6500 acre preserve was purchased and presented to the citizens as compensation for the ecological damage caused by the Suncoast Parkway alignment. It was given to the citizens in perpetuity. It provides abundant wildlife habitat and is the southern anchor of the Cross Bar/Starkey wildlife corridor. Recreation abounds on the Tract, canoeing, hiking, nature watching, camping, horseback riding, and handicapped trails to name just a few. It is the one of the last large wild tracts in Pasco County.
The Ridge Road Extension across the Serenova, ostensibly needed to provide an evacuation route during hurricanes, goes no where. The first leg of the route, would connect to the Suncoast Parkway after crossing the Tract. The Parkway goes north and south, curving towards the coast in both directions. It intersects County roads already targeted as evacuation routes. People would have to exit the Parkway onto roads they can access without the Extension. To the north the Parkway has flooded and remained closed for days. To the south is Tampa which looks at the Suncoast as a major evacuation route, What would be the affects of Tampa citizens choking the road? Chaos is a real possibility during a time when it would be the most disastrous.
Pasco County has high ground to the East, the Brooksville Ridge. There are numerous Hurricane shelters on this high ground making them a logical choice to escape a serious storm. They are easily reached by buses, buses that could be staged in areas that need to be evacuated. A well though out allocation plan would make this a logical, lower, if not lowest cost approach for those people who need to flee. There is a railroad in Pasco which could be utilized as well. The tracks in Dade City could provide routes north even to Atlanta.
There is no need for this road. that seriously imperils an ecological gem in Pasco County. Costs for the road continue to escalate and are incomplete twenty years later. A coordinated plan with surrounding counties is not on the table. Ultimately the road would be of limited use if not useless during a storm. Join us in demanding that the Pasco County Board of Directors withdraw the application for the Ridge Road Extension. Demand that the County develop a well though out multi-modal plan to meet evacuation needs.
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Withdraw the Ridge Road Extension Application. After nearly 20 years of fighting it is time to abandon this incendiary, costly and unnecessary road. Develop a coordinated, mutilmodal, less costly plan which uses in place assets and meets the needs of residents for protection during Hurricanes and other storms.
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