Patricia McNeese, County Planner, addressed the Community Redevelopment Agency on Feb. 28, 2017. She was particularly proud of the recent cleanup efforts at Kass Circle which yielded 1.23 tons of garbage collected by a record 54 volunteers (10 more than last year). At the annual neighborhood cleanup event, volunteers scour vacant properties as well as along the street to collect trash.
Mr. Wayne Dukes brought up citations for vacant lot owners who have lots of trash on their property. Ms. McNeese said that they do currently give citations. “The Hernando County Sheriff has been assisting with that,” she said. She explained that many of these areas were abandoned homeless camps. The Sheriff worked with property owners to have them sign eviction notices for the homeless living on the vacant lots.
Ms. McNeese says there are 2 to 3 illegal dumping hotspots (She specifically mentioned Kass Circle backside and Omaha Circle backside.) Ms. McNeese has spoken to the landfill about getting some security cameras for these locations.
Mr. Dukes agreed that with 1 and a quarter tons of garbage collected only a year after the last clean-up, there should be more active policing. “There has to be some accountability to somebody besides us,” said Mr. Dukes.
The clean-up was funded by WalMart Foundation's "Strengthening Local Communities" grant.
Following the clean-up, a block party was held, with numerous activities and vendors. The block party focused on community safety. Hernando County Fire Rescue was in attendance as well as Safe Route to Schools representatives. The Sheriff’s Office substation was open. There was also a display commemorating Spring Hill’s 50th birthday, with articles about Spring Hill’s early days sent in by Frank Mackle III, a member of Spring Hill’s original developers, the Mackle Brothers. Kass Circle businesses had sidewalk displays and booths setup.
ATA Career Education Center held a ribbon cutting in January for their 5200 sq ft expansion. They now have an 18,000 sq ft footprint in the Kass Circle Plaza with 4 classrooms, an open lab, computer lab and a fully equipped Nursing Lab.
A question was posed about when Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will begin for the CRA. Assistant County Administrator Ron Pianta clarified that they cannot institute a TIF district until a development plan is adopted by the Board. “In terms of grant funding for the redevelopment plan, last year we did apply for a grant with the Department of Economic Opportunity. We did not receive that grant. We intend to reapply again this year.”
Community Member Barbara Bartlett spoke to the Community Redevelopment Agency and stated that in her experience picking up trash in the area over the last 4 years, much of the trash are large items like couches and mattresses. “It’s not wrappers from candy,” she said. “These are people that are bringing that area down.”
photography by Hernando County Planning