BOCC: Parkway project ‘hijacked’

Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM.

The Gulf Coast Parkway as envisioned in 2001 represented “a 100-year opportunity, the best since the paper mill,” said local businessman George Duren.

Thirteen years later, the project has been “hijacked,” county officials said Tuesday.

The Board of County Commissioners launched a public campaign Tuesday to lobby state, and if necessary federal, officials on what commissioners see as a project that provides little benefit to Gulf County, despite the original conception of the project.

County administrator Don Butler said that examining the timeline of the project from its inception in 2001 to the present day is to see how a project to link South Gulf County with U.S. 231 and points north, to provide a spur for economic development and tourism, has now become a highway project to benefit Bay County.

“The intent has certainly changed over the years,” Butler said. “This is huge. Our opportunity is being hijacked.”

The thrust of the issue is the preferred alternative identified by engineers and the Florida Department of Transportation.

That alternative, labeled No. 17, moves along County 386 north to south of Star Avenue in Bay County and links with Star.



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