The Suwannee Democrat’s February 16th “Digital Dialog” stated that readers were not very excited about The Democrat’s reporting on the proposed work at the I-75/CR 136 interchange. The reason for that is because they have not been properly informed.
Suwannee County actually received two grants: One from the state for $3.125 million and another from the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for $3.280 million. The grant from DEP clearly states how the money to be used. One item in the agreement requires the removal of 13 existing septic systems at the interchange. This means the existing businesses and any new businesses will be serviced by the sewer treatment facility (no more septics). The main reason behind this requirement is for eliminating potential contamination of our ground water. A water tower will be erected to supply water to any and all businesses. They will not be drawing water from individual wells.
Another writer mentioned stinking up a state market. The Farmers’ Market will not be affected except in a positive manner. The Market at present is already way below their contracted production and services to the community. If anything, this new growth at the interchange should affect the Farmers’ Market in a positive way.
This $6.3 million will net us a state of the art water and sewer treatment facility. How many of us have passed by that interchange and remarked about the condition of the abandoned buildings and businesses? How many of us traveling through that area have said, “When are they (County Commissioners) going to do something about this mess?” I know I have. Well, here’s your answer.
As you read this, the Suwannee County Board of Commissioners, County Administrator, and County Attorney are putting together plans to start this project and have already made requests to existing property holders to clean up their abandoned and burned out properties. With this grant money and a modern water and sewage plant, we can draw new hotels, gas stations, and restaurants to that interchange which should generate more Suwannee jobs and tax dollars.
I just wanted to clear up a couple of misunderstandings. After some of the details are cleared up by the county, our community will invite Chairman Ricky Gamble to a town hall meeting for a presentation and a Q & A session concerning the interchange improvements. This endeavor is probably going to be one of the most important and beneficial to happen in Suwannee County for a long time to come.
In closing, remember state grant dollars have to be utilized. If Suwannee County had not applied for that money, it would have gone to another county in the state. So let’s say, “Well done, county officers!”