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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

DeSantis signs bill granting $2.5 million in funding for Dunnellon Trail

Governor Ron DeSantis has approved Marion County’s request for $2.5 million in funding for a pedestrian safety project in the area around Blue Run of Dunnellon Park and the Dunnellon Trail.

According to a press release from Marion County, nearly 155,000 people visited Blue Run of Dunnellon Park over the past two years. Due to this increase in ecotourism, pedestrian safety has become a significant priority for the county.

House Bill 3039, which was signed by DeSantis on Thursday, June 2, approves the $2.5 million in funding to allow Marion County, in collaboration with the City of Dunnellon, to begin work on the addition of a projected pedestrian lane on the existing bridge over the Rainbow River that is adjacent to the eastbound lane of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The county is also looking to use these funds to create a multi-modal trail designed to connect the Heart of Florida Loop Shared-Use Trail and the Dunnellon Trail to Blue Run of Dunnellon Park.

The addition of a protected lane will serve as a safe thoroughway for visitors using the park, while also allowing the users of the Heart of Florida Loop Shared-Use Trail to have access to local businesses such as hotels, bike shops, and restaurants in downtown Dunnellon.

The project will also include the realignment of vehicular traffic on the two-lane bridge crossing over the Rainbow River, just east of Dunnellon, in order to provide safe passage for pedestrians and visitors who come from all over the region to spend time on the river.