Last night the Royal community showed up big and set the tone of the meeting during the public forum. The passion and concern was very palpable from those who turned out scores of “No Build” sign-waving, eloquent public speaking, fed-up residents who gave the Sumter Board of County Commissioners an earful. Rather than listening to the outcry of the public, the commissioners voted to send a letter to a turnpike official that would not oppose the extension but makes a concerted concern to direct FDOT to make sure it steers clear of Royal. 

No matter how hard Sumter tries to bend over backward in search of a better route, there is NO ROUTE that will not have absolutely devastating impacts on Sumter as each of the routes goes through Sumter starting in Wildwood. Sumter County and communities like Royal its history, the business community, and its natural resources are ground zero.

We cannot harm one community, farm, lake, or spring in the hope of saving another.  There are families, farms, businesses, and neighborhoods, just like the historic African-American community of Royal, for each and every proposed route. Opposition to these toll roads is widespread in Levy, Marion, Citrus, and Sumter counties; we are stronger together. We should collectively be saying NO BUILD. 

The Sumter fight has just begun and it’s off with a bang!

Villages-News article | Royal’s African Americans worried that turnpike extension could cut through historic community: https://www.villages-news.com/2022/02/09/royals-african-americans-worried-that-turnpike-extension-could-cut-through-historic-community/ 

You can review the letter the Sumter BOCC and the City of Wildwood are considering sending here: https://www.sumtercountyfl.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/19636?fileID=47045&fbclid=IwAR2cXpz8yDU_DY4Wk4DO1FRvkHvYntsglOAuMQvz0kz6fCVGHg4_QR49Bxo 

You can watch the Sumter Boards’ discussion here when they were debating the letter after the public forum. Let us be clear, “no build” is an option under SB 100. FDOT representatives have said that themselves many times. Now is the time for local governments to be making their opposition to the toll roads heard loud and clear. 

There will be a City Council meeting in Wildwood regarding the City Council approving the joint-letter that Sumter and Wildwood are attempting to send. BE THERE and SPEAK OUT! Ask them to revise the letter and to send a NO BUILD letter to the entire Turnpike Extension. More information for the meeting here: https://wildwoodcityfl.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx

Photos and videos from last night’s event can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-7ePzcex7_0qpoZ9Q_VmEyaLwajiLurq?usp=sharing