Suncoast Parkway plan would bulldoze homes

Homeowners and residents of Citrus County weighed in on a $250-million, 13-mile extension plan for the Suncoast Parkway, during a public hearing for a project that was put on hold years ago because of the 2008 financial crisis.

Several hundred residents are going to be forced from their homes through the use of eminent domain.

The state says the project is necessary because of Florida's rapid population growth.

Homeowners named Dan and Vivian, who did not want to give their last names, say they're being booted through eminent domain, out of their home of 10 years.

"I'm 80 years old, I have health issues, with stomach, heart, everything, so I wanted the quieter life. I don't want to move this."

The highway is slated to go through their property in Homosassa.

"I don't think the road is necessary," Dan said. "It seems like no one even takes the highway where it already goes.

The 13-mile stretch will ultimately connect the Suncoast in Brooksville in Hernando County to Route 44 in Lecanto in Citrus County.

"We need a new north-south route," said Christa Deason, of FDOT. "(We want to) make it easier for people to come and go from the Tampa Bay area."

FDOT says the road is crucial to assist in economic development and that they are going to make fair offers to the 200 property owners who are being booted.

The goal is to have eminent domain procedures complete by the fall and construction completed three years after that.