On Thursday, May 6, County Commissioner John Allocco addressed a large group of supporters of the Glen Lakes Veterans and Friends (GLV). This organization raises money to help various veterans’ posts from the tri-county area (Hernando, Pasco, and Citrus counties). These posts include American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Disabled Veterans (DAV).
Allocco discussed some of the changes coming about in Hernando County and how these changes affect veterans. One important point he made is that by the end of this year our county’s population is projected to reach 200,000.
With the pandemic hopefully turning a corner, building permits and other signs of growth have increased.
“Our building department is averaging over 10,000 phone calls a month,” Allocco stated.
Due to the fact that Hernando County did not close down as much as other counties in Florida during the height of the pandemic, our community has maintained tourism and other activities that help the economy.
Allocco also discussed the progress that Hernando County has made in getting our residents vaccinated by streamlining the online registration process.
Another topic of discussion was road construction. Allocco emphasized the importance of community involvement in getting petitions signed to ensure that local government officials and agencies are responsive to the citizens’ needs. He also suggested reaching out to the state and federal representatives.
The commissioner also mentioned that the Veterans’ Administration (VA) now owns the former Pinebrook Medical Center on Highway 50 to use as a healthcare facility and an information resource for veterans.
Another topic that Allocco addressed was the financial health of the county. He was optimistic in stating that Hernando is increasing its budgetary reserves. Part of this is due to bonds that were issued on the market to increase the county’s revenues.
An issue that was brought up by one of the audience members concerned the Weeki Wachee River – how to keep it pristine, yet allow people to use it for recreational purposes. The major problems are overcrowding on the river, people mooring their boats on the riverbank and then getting out to walk around. This damages the riverbank and causes runoff into the river. Hernando officials got the state legislature to pass a bill addressing this issue.
In addition, Allocco discussed a plan to open up an area on the south end of Shoal Line Blvd. coming from U.S. 19 and leading to Hernando Beach that the public will be able to use for hiking, cycling and other recreational activities.
Glen Lakes Veterans and Friends was founded in 2016 by a small group of residents in that community north of Highway 50. Each year the organization holds a Golf Outing that raises thousands of dollars. This money is then dispersed to various veterans groups in Hernando, Pasco and Citrus Counties. The group has to apply for the grant and explain what the money will be used for. It may be to purchase a van to take veterans to doctors appointments, to pay the utility bill for an American Legion Post, or something as simple as purchasing a copier for a local VFW post.
Volunteers appeal to local businesses and individuals to be sponsors of the Golf Outing, donate items for a Silent Auction or simply donate money to the cause. Every company that supports GLV is listed on the organization’s website: www.GlenLakesvets.org as a veteran-friendly business and people are encouraged to patronize those businesses.
Dennis Blum, a chair person of GLV stated, “One merchant recounted that he sold $38,000 of additional product due to the fact that veterans say they came there because he supported the organization.”
Anyone interested in joining Glen Lakes Veterans and Friends, being a sponsor for the upcoming Golf Outing in November or donating to the organization can go to the website or call 352-200-8649 for more information.