FDOT Releases Initial Avoidance Graphics for the Three Proposed M-CORES Corridors

In conjunction with the February Task Force meetings, FDOT released the initial avoidance graphics for the three proposed M-CORES corridors. Consistent with the task force guiding principles, the graphics illustrate where there will be no or limited impact by the proposed corridors as well as FDOT’s commitment to preserving Florida’s most precious environmental and historical resources.

“I am confident that the avoidance graphics articulate our promise to protect and preserve Florida’s environment, while also planning for the state’s inevitable future growth,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “The department will continue to support task force members and provide any requested resources throughout this critical process as they work toward consensus on paths/courses for the proposed corridor.”

For more information related to the avoidance graphics, including a list of avoidance areas for each corridor, please visit https://www.fdot.gov/info/CO/news/newsreleases/default.shtm.

Hispanic & Creole Outreach in Southwest-Central Florida

M-CORES has developed communication strategies to effectively engage with Hispanic and Creole communities in the Southwest-Central Florida corridor study area, including ¿Que Pasa Polk?

By partnering with different cultural organizations, including Hispanic Media to build strong, local relationships, the M-CORES communication team is providing information to large areas of Spanish-speaking residents to more comprehensively communicate to all residents of this nine-county study area. The goals are to Mobile-Optimize the M-CORES website to reach Latino and Creole audiences that may be mobile-dependent for internet access.

This month we partnered with ¿Que Pasa Polk? to help spread the word about our services to our Latino audience. The local government TV show hosted by Anita Rivera was filmed with a Latino bilingual flavor and produced with the Polk Government Channel. Polk Government Television (PGTV) is an internet and cable television station in Bartow, Florida, providing Public Access Government and Community shows. M-CORES has also partnered with local government channels to save costs, cultivate relationships with local news and gain regular access to radio and television spots. Our goal is to gather community feedback, provide program updates and invite the community to our many public meetings and open houses throughout the corridor area.

It is vital to include Spanish translations in news distributions and understand the best methods to reach these unique populations. One way is through the upcoming creation of short videos in Spanish for the FloridaMCORES.com website and social media outlets to welcome families, share testimonials from the community, offer information about our services and describe how they can directly provide comments to the Florida Department of Transportation about the M-CORES Program.

At all public meetings, including our Community Open Houses and Task Force Meetings, multilingual staff will be available to provide face-to-face support with program information to reach the Hispanic and Creole audiences within the community. Signage, handouts, and comment cards have been translated into Spanish as part of our expanded outreach.

¡Bienvenidos! Bienvini!

¿Que Pasa Polk? M-CORES - The Future of Florida

¿Que Pasa Polk? M-CORES - The Future of Florida

Suwannee River Fair Pavilion Serves Florida — Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Northern Turnpike Corridor Task Force Meets at Historic Pavilion

Group of Citizens at Task Force Boards

For more than 60 years, the Suwannee River Fair Pavilion has hosted thousands of events and gatherings. Located in Fanning Springs, known as the gateway to the Suwannee River, the pavilion’s signature event is the annual Suwannee River Fair held in March.

On February 12th, the pavilion served as a meeting location to host a conversation that focused on the future of Florida. The M-CORES Northern Turnpike Corridor Task Force, comprised of 39 subject matter experts, including elected officials from Levy, Citrus, Sumter and Marion counties, held their fourth meeting on the pavilion’s historic grounds. The full-day meeting included presentations and robust conversations on topics such as economic and workforce development, the corridor planning process and the development of the Northern Turnpike Corridor guiding principles.

The M-CORES program is committed to connecting with local communities and venues such as the Suwannee River Fair Pavilion are often the heartbeat of a community. Its founders were active members in the agricultural industry of the Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy County areas. Their mission was to design a fair that was indicative of the local agricultural community. In addition, the founders had a desire to instill in the youth participants an appreciation and basic knowledge of the agricultural industry that serves as a major economic and cultural influence in North Central Florida. M-CORES recognizes the importance of agriculture and task force members have discussed how to work with local governments to gather public input on rural agricultural landscape with regard to protection or inclusion in planning documents. M-CORES also supports draft guiding principles in four categories: Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, Social Resources and Physical Resources.

The Suwannee River Fair Association, the governing body of the fair, is staying true to its mission. Youth Fair activities are tailored to provide any child who is a member of the 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) in Dixie, Gilchrist and Levy counties an opportunity to gain skills. Their experience and knowledge will serve them well as they become productive members of the community. All Fair activities, while competitive in nature, are for the primary purpose of educating and fostering the participant in the areas of organizational skills, record keeping, self-reliance, self-esteem, responsibility and good citizenship.

Since 1952, the mission of the Suwannee River Fair pavilion has been maintained and carried out by volunteers. The pavilion is a community treasure and an important piece of Florida’s history.

The M-CORES meeting at the pavilion concluded with public comments from residents of Levy County and surrounding areas. All task force materials including the agenda, presentations and supporting documents are accessible at www.FloridaMCORES.com.

The task force will meet in all four counties within the Northern Turnpike Corridor study area, which includes Levy, Citrus, Sumter and Marion, through September 2020. The next meeting is scheduled for March 25th at the Hilton Ocala in Marion County.

‘Our story is something that needs to be heard.’

Image of town of Greenville

Town of Greenville and its Manager See M-CORES as a Path Forward

Located at the intersection of US Highway 90 and US Highway 221, Greenville, Florida, encompasses less than one-and-a-half square miles and is home to fewer than 800 people. The nearest grocery store is a 30-minute drive, and according to the Town Manager, the average home appraises for under $20,000. Town Manager Edward Dean has big plans for the small town, and he believes the M-CORES program can be the impetus for the change Greenville both needs and wants.

A Central Florida native, Dean ended up in Greenville after graduate school at Ohio State and nearly two decades of work in Washington, D.C., for three Florida Congressional representatives. When taking the job as Town Manager, Dean wanted to get to know his constituents in order to better understand their needs and desires. What he discovered surprised him. He said, “I learned that a lot of folks here don’t want to be in the city. They just want their community improved.”

Dean took this newfound understanding to heart and began actively working to bring opportunity to Greenville through a variety of projects. Under his leadership, the town has been awarded multiple grants for improvements and new construction. A new community center for senior citizens and the town’s youth will open in March, and ground will be broken on Greenville’s first grocery store later this year.

At the December 17, 2019, Suncoast Corridor Task Force meeting, Dean took the microphone during the public comment period and gave an impassioned three-minute outline of the hope he believes M-CORES holds for his town. Opening with grim statistics, he explained that the median household income in Greenville is just $22,000, and the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 16 and 24 is over 60 percent. Dean went on to explain that he sees the proposed Suncoast Corridor project as an influx of opportunities and an economic development strategy that will help his town. He noted that residents of Greenville are looking for long-term solutions, and he views the M-CORES program as “a fifty-year game-changer.”

The Town Council, speaking with one voice, unanimously approved the adoption of a resolution in support of M-CORES on January 21, 2020. The town used the resolution to officially welcome the Suncoast Corridor to Greenville and to pledge its full cooperation to the Florida Department of Transportation and other partners to make the Suncoast Task Force a success. Further, the resolution expressed the Council’s desire to have “the Suncoast Corridor be constructed and opened as quickly as possible in the best interest of all concerned.”

In a release announcing the passage of the resolution, Dean noted, “The prospect of increased job opportunities, new local businesses, and improved infrastructure for our proud but desolate community has provided us hope about what the future could yield.”

Learn more about Greenville, including its celebrated history as the childhood home of Ray Charles, here.

Upcoming Events

This month we’re holding several Task Force Meetings and Community Open Houses to share progress and gather your input. Public participation and stakeholder input are vital to the M-CORES planning process. Through multiple public meetings, a robust website, the FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us email account, and many more channels for input and feedback, the department is making every attempt to engage the public on this important proposal. By working together, we can determine successful transportation solutions for everyone and ensure the state’s infrastructure is best prepared for generations to come.

Additional events will take place in all three corridors throughout the year. Please check our Calendar of Events for other upcoming meetings in your area.

Guests looking at project boards

Southwest-Central Florida Corridor Events

Task Force Meeting #5
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Bert Harris Agricultural Center Auditorium
4509 George Blvd
Sebring, FL 33870

Event Details ▸

Community Open House #4
WEDNESDAY, MAR. 26, 2020
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Bert Harris Agricultural Center Auditorium
4509 George Blvd
Sebring, FL 33870

Event Details ▸

Community open house meeting

Suncoast Corridor Events

Community Open House #6
THURSDAY, MAR. 12, 2020
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

First Baptist Church, Fellowship Hall
325 W Washington Street
Monticello, FL 32344

Event Details ▸

Task Force Meeting #5
TUESDAY, MAR. 24, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Monticello First Church of the Nazarene
1590 N Jefferson Street
Monticello, FL 32344

Event Details ▸

Northern Turnpike Corridor Events

Task Force Meeting #5
WEDNESDAY, MAR. 25, 2020
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hilton Ocala
3600 SW 36th Avenue
​Ocala, FL 34474

Event Details ▸

Community Open House #5
THURSDAY, MAR. 26, 2020
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
College of Central Florida — Levy Campus
15390 N.W. Highway 19
Chiefland, FL 32626

Event Details ▸

Community workshop

Community Workshops

Community Workshops offer local, small-group interaction on M-CORES with FDOT representatives. If your community association or civic organization is interested in learning more about M-CORES, program staff would be happy to attend one of your meetings.

To schedule a workshop, please email us at FDOT.Listens@dot.state.fl.us. Be sure to include the potential meeting location, date and time, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Stay In The Know

Public participation is vital to the M-CORES process, and there are many ways to share your comments or ideas.

If you’re interested in learning more, please visit FloridaMCORES.com, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or visit us at our upcoming Community Open Houses. We’re here to listen to you!


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605 Suwannee Street | Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

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