These days, Pasco County Commission is showing, depending on your point of view, either admirable persistence or unenlightened pigheadedness. First there is the long-delayed Ridge Road extension, which the Army Corps of Engineers is refusing to permit because the proposed route from Ridge Road’s current eastern end and the Suncoast Parkway would take it through the Serenova tract. Environmentalists say this would harm the 6,500-acre conservation area and the Corps of Engineers has so far agreed. The county, however, has hired a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm in an effort to change the minds of corps officials in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, the commander of the corps’ South Atlantic Office, in Atlanta, has told Jacksonville to take a second look at the county’s request for a permit to dredge a canal to the Gulf from its planned SunWest Park, in the Aripeka area. That doesn’t mean the Jacksonville office was wrong to reject the county’s dredging permit, citing possible sea grass damage, but the case the county made in its appeal of the decision has merit, Col. Donald Walker decided. Finally, the Pasco Metropolitan Planning Organization, which includes County Commission members, is keeping an elevated toll road across the southern part of the county a long-term transportation option despite the apparent collapse of a private consortium’s plan to build such a toll road now. The proposal drew a storm of protest from residents of the toll road’s proposed route.
While the SunWest Park canal is hardly a necessity, extending Ridge Road would, among other things, provide another east-west disaster evacuation route. Keeping the toll road as a long-term option, however remote, is only prudent.