Monday, March 5, 2018

Coalition asks Army Corps to reject road through Serenova Preserve



Contact: Tim Martin
727 251-9979

 Suncoast Sierra Club Announces 30+ Organizations Sign Letter To US ACOE Opposing Ridge Road Extension Through The Serenova Preserve In Pasco County

NEW PORT RICHEY – An attorney for the Suncoast Sierra Club has sent a letter strongly condemning the proposed Ridge Road extension through the Serenova preserve, which forms the northern section of the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park in Pasco County. Over 30 organization have joined the coalition in condemning the road project, including environmental, political, and horse rider advocacy groups.  

“Today we demonstrate strong community support to reject this road to nowhere,” said Suncoast Sierra Club Conservation Chair, Tim Martin, speaking on behalf of the Save the Serenova coalition.  “This gift to developers has already cost Pasco taxpayers millions of dollars and will cost many millions more as it threatens to destroy the best nature preserve left in Pasco county. The Army Corps of Engineers should reject the permit application and preserve the Serenova for all those who enjoy the park, as well as the many species that live there.”

Representing the Suncoast Sierra Club, attorney Jane West sent the detailed letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) this week.  The letter highlights the numerous errors and inconsistencies that have been documented via comments to the administrative record over the past 19 years since the Pasco County Commission first applied for the permit.

The 6,500-acre Serenova Tract was purchased in the late 1990s as mitigation for construction of the Suncoast Parkway. The Pasco Board of County Commissions has advocated for the extension of Ridge Road through the preserve, ostensibly for an evacuation route from US 41 to the Suncoast Parkway.

But with Hurricane Irma recently prompting thousands of residents to evacuate to shelters, opponents of the road argue that there was no impediment to residents’ ability to evacuate with existing road options, and that the road construction is a tax-payer funded boondoggle.

The Ridge Road extension project is one of the longest pending permit applications in ACOE history. The Sierra Club and its allies have vowed to take legal action in the event the project gets permitted by the ACOE.

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