Lawsuit may stall Suncoast Parkway extension | 12/22/2017 | Staff
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BROOKSVILLE — A last-minute lawsuit may put the brakes on the long-awaited extension of the Suncoast Parkway north into Citrus County. Construction was slated to begin early next year.

At a Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting last week, city and county officials talked about a push at the state level to move the project ahead even faster. A ground-breaking ceremony was in the works.

Steps - Process - Toll - Road - Extension

But like other steps in the process of building the toll road extension known as Suncoast Parkway 2, within days of that discussion, another shoe dropped.

On Dec. 15, the Friends of Etna Turpentine Camp, Inc., filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over documents it says the agency has failed to provide to the public. The documents support the permit allowing construction of the roadway.

Etna - Turpentine - Camp - Slave - Camp

The Etna Turpentine Camp was built in the early 1900s. It was a slave camp where convicts and African Americans were paid only with credits for use at the company store. The camp produced turpentine used primarily in shipbuilding, and the town had more than 50 buildings. The Parkway extension is slated to go through the land where the camp was located.

The Friends group sought the records to determine whether the agency took a hard enough look at the construction impacts on the historic area, "especially when the permit involves destruction of an archaeological site listed on the National Historic Register,’’ according to a news release announcing the legal action.

Friends - Group - Documents - Freedom - Information

The Friends group has been seeking documents under the Freedom of Information Act since August, according to the release.

"Etna Turpentine Camp is federally designated as a national treasure that is contracted to be destroyed forever, and we are being denied access to documents supporting the decision to do so," said Friends president Robert Roscow. "If we wait any longer for these documents,...
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