Park path connection moves forward

Park path connection moves forward

By Michael D. Bates Chronicle Reporter Mar 12, 2024

Citrus County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved drafting a memorandum of understanding between the county and city of Crystal River spelling out the specifics of a multi-use trail between Jim LeGrone Memorial Park and Fredrick W. Copeland Park.

County commissioners in December voted unanimously to use $250,000 in transportation and park impact fees for design and construction for what is being called the Northeast Eighth Avenue Trail Project.

When finished, people who frequent Jim LeGrone Memorial Park will be able to use a multi-use trail to get to nearby Frederick W. Copeland Park. Currently, they have to walk or bicycle on the street to get to both community parks, which creates a safety issue.

Crystal River is already designing the trail, and city representatives asked the board to free up the impact fee money to help build it.

LeGrone Memorial Park, at 425 SE Eighth Ave., has a playground, a tennis court and a racquetball court.

Copeland Park, at 850 NE Third St., features a pavilion, playground, picnic area, basketball court and fishing pond.

Also Tuesday:

The board voted unanimously to approve County Administrator Steve Howard’s recommendation to hire two new staffers: The first is an intergovernmental affairs manager, who would be paid between $70,000
and $105,000.

The other position is a digital media coordinator at a pay grade of $49,900 to $74,800.

Government watchdog and County Commission candidate Janet Barek criticized the high starting salaries and urged the board to start them at a starting teacher salary of around $47,500.

Commissioner Diana Finegan said she was also taken aback by the salaries, especially after board members said during the same meeting that they are committed to reining in the budget.

But Howard said these kinds of positions require a certain skill set and they will ultimately save the county money.

“Sometimes you’ve got to spend money to save money,” he said.

Michael D. Bates is a staff writer with the Citrus County Chronicle and can be reached at