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. (FOCUS), 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.
“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 bus depot plan because a federal grant of $15.9 million would help to pay for it. They also cited assurances from county staff members that the facility would be "green" and would not be a nuisance to its Tallevast neighbors.
For years, the neighbors 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.
Officials said 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, is located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 301 and Tallevast Road.