On May 22, 2018, the Board of the County Commissioners met to approve the Barclay Avenue Widening Project. They are planning on widening the road from two lanes to four lanes. This project had been a part of Hernando County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan since around the year 2005. The Board was allowed to obtain property from Samir and Samar Shakfeh, residents of Barclay Avenue. The cost to acquire the Shakfeh properties which includes attorney’s fees, damages, and extra costs for additional right-of-way along Barclay Avenue is $325,000.
The initial completion of the Barclay Avenue Widening Project is reliant on the removal of the Shakfeh properties, according to the decision of the Board and the Department of Public Works.
“This was a high one,” admitted Randy Griffith, Assistant County Attorney. However, Griffith continued to stress the importance of how “it is not as much the value of land as it is damage expenses.”
The Chairman of the Board, Steve Champion, brought up the idea of obtaining the land by eminent domain, but all decided against it as it would cost far more and the Shakfehs were willing to give over the land voluntarily.
Chairman Champion stated further in favor of the Barclay Widening Project, “It’s dangerous out on that road. Coming out by the fire station, there. There’s a lot of traffic.”
“If we get these two properties, we are in phase two. The new Public Works Director says he is ready to redo the intersection at Elgin and realign the San Antonio-Barclay Intersection,” Randy Griffith explained. “The other side of Barclay is just empty land. There is nothing on them and the land can be valued later on.”
The estimated amount of time before the project can begin is three to four months to allow time for everything to finalize and for the vacated land to be cleared out.
“There are three North-South ways to get to Spring Hill: Mariner, California, and Barclay. Maybe we will even expand California way down the line, due to the amount of people. There are more travelers on Barclay, now, than the Sunshine Turnpike,” Randy Griffith stated, referring to the high amount of traffic volume that our community has been receiving.
Chairman Steve Champion stated,“There is a need for this [the widening project] in the community. There’s no doubt about it.”
All were in favor of proceeding with the project, and agreed that the Shakfeh property is necessary in order to begin and finish widening Barclay Avenue as soon as possible.