Tuesday, June 24, 2008

County Parks Chief Recommends Against Connector Trail

I was informed today that Hillsborough County's parks chief, Mark Thornton, and the parks board recommended against funding the connector trail to link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail.

This is very bad news. The county's greenways and trails committee and the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee both recommended that money be spent from the Community Investment Tax fund to pay for the 7-mile connector trail. It is a key piece of bicycle infrastructure.

In the end, the county commissioners will decide how to spend $40 million in Community Investment Tax funds that I was hoping would be tapped to build the connector trail to make this the longest continuous trail in the state of Florida.

The sad thing is that the planning was paid for and money was supposedly set aside to buy the land along the connector trail to make this happen. And the majority of the $12 million or so for the connector trail would have been REIMBURSED by the state DOT to Hillsborough County.

But it appears as if Thornton and the county parks board want to kill the connector trail.

Contact Hillsborough County commissioners and tell them to fund the connector trail.

I hear the county commissioners might use the Community Investment tax dollars to help build a soccer stadium in northwest Hillsborough County for a new pro soccer team. That's not exactly my idea of a smart use of our public dollars.

3 comments:

Dave said...

That's a crying shame. Someone at Hillsborough should ask Pinellas County about the draw and economic benefit of an expansive well-connected system of multi-use trails. A connected trail system would be a concrete, lasting benefit to the citizens of Hillsborough County and a draw for tourists wanting to see the area by bike.

GhostRider said...

Just sent a note to all the county commissioners. They make it easy to send them an email via the online contact form:

http://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/bocc/about/contactus.cfm

Hopefully if enough people send out letters to the BOCC, they'll be convinced to reconsider.

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