Firmenich Protest Attracts Attention on S.R. 590
Around 60 people showed up to express their displeasure with the latest proposal from the Richman group on Friday night.
As it turns out, she got that number and a little bit more, including a police presence and plenty of honks and waves from cars passing by the old citrus center on State Road 590.
Around 60 people showed up, many wearing red and waving signs warning motorists that if the latest proposal from the Richman Group is approved, the traffic on the road would get a lot heavier than on a typical weeknight.
"I would say for our first time we got a nice turnout," said Hollen, who lives around the corner from the property and got the whole thing started by putting a sign outside her house last week.
"We got a lot of waves, a lot of honks. I can tell there's a lot of interest in this."
What started out with a small circle of friends and neighbors around five o'clock quickly swelled to a large group that included men, women and children and some outspoken leaders in the community.
That led to Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies showing up, who said as long as the demonstrators stayed off the road, they were fine to do what they were doing.
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Sandy Blood, who has organized an online petition opposing the project, said she just wants everyone to be aware of what is going on in their community.
"The purpose of the petition is to bring attention to this issue, because the a lot of people don't even know this is happening," she said.
"My concern is the density, the height of the buildings and the traffic," she added. "I felt someone had to do something to let people know, because this is going to greatly affect the city of Safety Harbor."
Christina Jackson, who also lives nearby, believes the property, which has been vacant for approximately three years and covers more than 34 acres, should be used to position Safety Harbor as a leader in the county when it comes to going green.
"I'd like to see a smaller, single-family home development with 40-50 homes and maybe a recycling center," she said as she waved a sign and hollered at passing motorists.
"I'd like to see us take the lead in Pinellas County as a healthy, sustainable green community."
Whatever the reasons for being there, the group of red-clad protesters was united in its cause.
"At least we made our statement," Hollen's partner, Barbara Hugg, said. "We tried to make a difference."