MANATEE -- Manatee County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved a land purchase of almost 38 acres for a new county transit depot, which several Tallevast residents opposed.
Residents and a neighborhood group representing them, Family Oriented Community United Strong, Inc., asked the commission to turn down the bus depot plan, saying the Tallevast community had suffered enough.
"Any form of harm is harmful to us," Tallevast resident Wanda Washington told the board during its meeting at County Administrative
"We do not appreciate what you plan to bring to our community."
She questioned whether the Tallevast site was the only place it could go, adding that no one had approached neighbors to discuss the plan in advance.
"You're talking to people who have been harmed," she said, referring to contamination from hazardous substances the community has been struggling with from a former beryllium plant.
"I am asking: Do not put that bus depot in our community," she said.
Commissioners said they voted in favor of the plan because a federal grant of $15.9 million would help to pay the new facility, which employs about 125. They also cited assurances from county staff members that the facility would be "green" and would not pose a nuisance to its Tallevast neighbors.
"I'm very, very sensitive to the impacts you've suffered," Commissioner Robin DiSabatino told Tallevast residents.
However, she added that what scared her more was what could go on the property if the transit depot did not, since the landowner had rights, too.
"This is a less intense use of the property," DiSabatino said.
For years, Tallevast residents and Lockheed Martin Corp. have been at odds over the cleanup of hazardous substances in an area where a former beryllium plant is located at 1600 Tallevast Road.
County officials said they had been looking since 2001 for a new site for the transit depot because Manatee County Area Transit had outgrown its current facilities at 1108 26th Ave. E.
The property where the bus depot will be built was priced at $4,520,000, and is located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 301 and Tallevast Road.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.