Veto list: Riverwalk, airport make the cut in Citrus County

The budget also funds efforts to extend the Crystal River Airport runway.

More than $40 million worth of Citrus County projects were slashed from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2022-23 budget, while other projects survived the knife.

One that survived is $3 million for the City of Crystal River to complete its Riverwalk, a boardwalk along Kings Bay that’s been in the planning, development and construction process for more than a decade.

The Governor also allowed $7.1 million to extend the Crystal River Airport runway by 645 feet to accommodate larger corporate jets, a move Citrus County officials say will provide an economic boost to the area.

Two restoration projects, the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes and Save Crystal River, each were funded. The Homosassa River restoration project, however, lost its $10 million funding.

The biggest single ask was also chopped: $20.7 million for upgrades to Turkey Oak Drive to use as a bypass around Crystal River, connecting State Road 44 east of the city with U.S. 19 north of it.

The Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Organization is awaiting results of a study commissioned last year to determine the traffic impact of the Suncoast Parkway’s opening to State Road 44 in Lecanto.

Crystal River officials fear much of that traffic will head west on S.R. 44 into Crystal River, and then north on an already congested U.S. 19. City officials believe traffic will be better served avoiding the business district altogether.

The Governor cut $850,000 for the Beverly Hills Community Park master plan, a request from Citrus County Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach.

Also, the Canes Construction Academy at Citrus High School lost its $162,200 appropriation from the Governor’s veto.

Other Citrus County projects vetoed include:

–Kings Bay Salt Marsh Restoration, $553,887.

–West Inverness City Trail and Withlacoochee State Trail connector, $2.25 million.

–Fort Island Trail multi-use path, $9.25 million.

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


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