One of those days when I roll out of bed at 6:45 a.m. with a great blog idea for that night, and the next thing it’s 12 hours later and I’m staring at an empty screen.
So, three topics today, in order:
1. “Sweet Citrus Acres.”
2. Betz Farm
3. No Aldi for Inverness
— I’ve always been amazed at the names developers give to their communities, especially those who mow down the trees first.
I recall many years ago an environmental speaker describe how developers name their communities after what was there before the bulldozers showed up. While that's a little harsh, I totally get it.
And developers want to create a vision for potential customers that often involves thick woods, scenic waterways and walking trails. A little imagination is called for.
Still, owners of the new 500-pad RV park on Turkey Oak near U.S. 19 in Crystal River take imagination to a new level: “Sweet Citrus Acres.”
Recall this property was flush with trees before workers nearly clear-cut it. Owners could have chosen any number of more fitting names (a former developer planned a housing community there called “Hidden Lakes Preserve”). I guess "Hardwoods of Yesteryear" was already taken.
I checked out the Sweet Citrus Acres website and it is quite, um, expressive in describing an RV park that is still being built.
“From its stunning waterfront views to its plethora of activities and amenities, this is one of the best investments you can make for your RV lifestyle,” it reads.
And this should catch the locals’ attention:
“But perhaps what sets Sweet Citrus Acres apart from other luxury RV resorts is its prime location in Crystal River. It is just minutes away from the cool crystal blue waters of Hunter Springs!”
I know this looks like I’m making fun of a new business (I guess I am). It’s all about timing. Two years ago Citrus County was welcoming of RV parks, along with storage facilities and subscription car washes.
Not so much today.
Don’t take it personally, Sweet Citrus Acres, if the locals aren’t thrilled when your RVs start showing up at Hunter Springs.
(And tell me you just read all that without thinking of a certain James Taylor song. It's in your head now for sure...)
— I only have one thing to say about Betz Farm and it’s this:
It was a mistake to combine the sale of Betz Farm with building the new animal shelter and now is the time to separate those totally opposite issues.
The county commission that drew up this scheme — sell property, use proceeds to pay for new animal shelter — no longer exists. That commission was led by two men who couldn’t care less whether we had a new animal shelter or not, so they came up with this terrible idea and shoved it through.
Today’s board is composed of five commissioners who collectively want a new animal shelter that’s affordable and supported by the community.
They also want to sell the 350-acre Betz Farm property and get it back on the tax rolls.
One is unrelated to the other.
It’s bad policy to base funding for a vital government project on a wish. That’s exactly what this is.
I don’t claim to know how to pay for a $9 million animal shelter. I just know what NOT to do.
—Aldi pulling the plug on its Inverness store is somewhat shocking in so many ways.
For one, the higher-ups at Inverness City Hall must be absolutely STUNNED that someone said no to them.
This is a city with a well-earned public reputation of seemingly wanting to pave every square inch of dirt along U.S. 41/S.R. 44. The city calls it strong economic development, and I guess that’s true if the almighty dollar is your goal.
Citizens have other concerns, particularly traffic, in Inverness and throughout Citrus County. This store was set for the corner of Forest/44. To get your bearings, that’s across from Applebee’s and diagonal from the ABC liquor store.
Anyone who sits fuming through two or three red-light cycles knows what a nightmare that corner is.
So it was somewhat amusing to read in the Chronicle that the city believes this intersection is a nothing burger traffic-wise and shoe-horning a grocery store makes perfect sense.
Now there’s no Aldi plan. I’m sure something will come along to replace it:
Sweet Citrus Acres, Inverness style.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.