Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Landowner Tries To Change Suncoast Trail Connector Trail

For years, Hillsborough County has been planning to connect the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and the Suncoast Trail. One section of this connector trail runs through the swiftmud water district land. But an eye doctor with Ironman ties -- Dr. Gills -- is  pressuring county commissioners to get staff to move the trail inside the water district lands because he said the trail is too close to his property in north Hillsborough County.
SWFBUD feels strongly that the county commissioners need to advise Dr. Gills that this project has been in the works for year and that it's inappropriate to change the trail alignment now. Plus, it would means thousands of dollars of more costs -- or possibly even losing funding -- and changing the trail route in the water district land would mean it would delay the project by a year or two.

PLEASE WRITE YOUR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS and use this sample letter as your guide.
Dear County Commissioners,

It has come to my attention that a private landowner in north Hillsborough County who is an eye doctor and has connections to the Ironman event, Dr. Gills, has contacted you regarding the alignment of the connector trail on public Swiftmud water district land that is part of the project to link the Upper Tampa Bay Trail with the Suncoast Trail. This connector trail project has been in the works for many years and is ranked as the top regional trail priority.

I have been informed that this property owner is seeking to influence Hillsborough County -- just months away from starting connector trail construction and after years of planning -- to change the alignment of the trail inside the water district lands owned by the public. I understand he has met with some of you with his lawyer.

SWFBUD and the thousands of bicyclists in Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay that we represent through our bike shops are asking you to please respectfully inform this landowner that it is inappropriate to alter the route of this trail in a public right-of-way on public land at the eleventh hour.

I understand that any change to the route of the trail in the Swiftmud land would cost tens of thousands of dollars in new expenses for the public and potentially even jeopardize funding, Plus, changing the trail route through the public water district land in this late hour would delay the project by a year or two.

Please inform this landowner that public amenities such as trails INCREASE property values of neighboring properties, will be a major benefit for the public that you serve and that Hillsborough County needs to proceed with this particular trail section on public water district lands as soon as possible.


Alan Snel
SWFBUD -- South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers

No comments:

Post a Comment