- August 4, 2021
Kim Ettel stood in front of a huge diagram of Manatee County's Lena Road widening and extension project and gave a big sigh.
"I'm relieved," Ettel said on Thursday night during a county information session on the project at Peace Presbyterian Church in Lakewood Ranch.
The county held the program to give residents a chance to learn more about the project and to give any feedback they thought was appropriate.
Ettel's property borders the north end of Lena Road as it approaches State Road 64. Future construction there will take a small strip of her land.
"I was worried they would take quite a bit of my property," she said. "I was thinking it was much more than it was."
Manatee County had several members of its Public Works department answering all the questions of anyone who attended.
"We are about 60% done with the planning," said Ogden Clark, a strategic planning manager for the county, "The idea is to present what we've done. We're trying to listen to the community."
Clark said the county has time to react to any feedback received on the project.
Mike Ferguson attended the meeting because his property butts up against the north end of Lena Road.
He talked with Manatee County Engineer Scott May about whether the county had to take trees down on the front of his property and what the plans would be for a drainage ditch that runs along the eastern edge of his property.
May took the time to answer all of his questions in detail.
"The toughest part of (a roads project) is taking land," May said. "I empathize with people and I want to take the time to explain why we are doing it. This meeting is to show everybody what we are doing and to address issues that come across."
Ferguson said the meeting provided much valuable information. Besides how much of his land would be lost to the project, Ferguson wanted to know how the north end of Lena would be redesigned going into State Road 64. He said there is a backup daily of northbound cars on Lena Road trying to turn west on S.R. 64.
"We've got all the garbage trucks going through here and the road isn't that wide," Ferguson said.
Ferguson also wondered whether he was going to like a traffic circle just north of his property.
May took time to answer all Ferguson's questions.
Dozens of residents streamed into the meeting, which was scheduled for two hours.
Manatee County's next information meeting will be held March 21 at Peace Presbyterian with the topic being Upper Manatee River Road improvements. The meeting will run 6-8 p.m.