CITRUS PARK, Fla. — Residents in Citrus Park may have to defend a beloved trail that county leaders say is the most popular in Hillsborough, with around 300,000 people using it annually.
A new developer, Alliance Residential Company, hopes to build a 260 unit apartment complex on land next to the Upper Tampa Bay trail one year after county commissioners denied another developers plans to do the same thing. The apartment complex would be called Broadstone Rocky Creek.
"A lot of people love and use this trail. I feel like it would definitely impact a lot of people who want to come here,” said Chelsea Ferenando, a runner who uses the trail often. "For me this is the place where I come in to really enjoy a run, I feel like I’m one with nature in a way."
The previous plan would have shifted the trail closer to Gunn highway and allowed traffic to cross over to get into the parking lot.
The new plan scratches both of those ideas. Instead, they want to install a bridge that would allow bikers, runners and walkers to go over traffic.
But, Ferenando and other runners aren’t so sure they like that idea either.
"As a runner you want to keep a level ground because when you go on an incline that can be hard on your legs depending on how advanced you are,” said Ferenando.
The new developers say they also wouldn’t disturb the canopy of trees folks adore — mainly because of the shade they provide.
"You depend on the trees covering the trail for you to be able to feel that coolness when you’re running past,” Ferenando said.
The developers presented their plan to trail users Wednesday. They say if they choose to not build on the land, the current property owners may not share the same commitment they have to not allow cars to cross the trail. ABC Action News reached out to the new developers several times Thursday but didn't hear back.
They plan on working with neighbors to meet in the middle before heading to county commissioners.
If you’d like to get in touch with the developers you can e-mail Carlos Ramos at Carlos@ballardpartners.com
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