Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Road Nears Protected Status Florida 13 Expected to Be Designated

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Road Nears Protected Status Florida 13 Expected to Be Designated

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan, Times-Union staff writer

A proposal to designate a section of Florida 13 that winds through the oak tree-filled corners of Fruit Cove, Switzerland and Orangedale as a protected historic and scenic corridor is almost ready to be presented to state officials.

The 200-page eligibility application proposal was written by a citizens group formed three years ago. It catalogues dozens of historic, scenic, archaeological, natural and recreational assets along a 17-mile stretch of the road.

Now it heads to the Florida Department of Transportation for review and, finally the Scenic Highway Advisory Committee, made up of various state and federal agencies, for approval.

Corridor group chairwoman Mary Cornwell said the group has found enough beautiful and historic assets to support an advisory committee decision to grant the highway protection and preservation.

"I have no doubt the road is eligible. We went overboard getting every bit of history, and that includes future land uses and existing land uses and signs," Cornwell said. "The people of this area want it to remain as green and rural as it is."

Kristy Booth, state transportation department corridor group coordinator, said she believes Florida 13 deserves the recognition, even though this group has taken a long time to get to the eligibility application stage.

"The highway advisory committee is familiar with this project, and they had liked it," Booth said. "I think they would have no problem gaining eligibility, and if Cornwell has all her ducks in a row, it could happen by the end of fall."

Florida 13 was named the Bartram Scenic Highway in 1980 by the Florida Legislature in honor of naturalist William Bartram, who studied the area in 1773 and 1774. But that didn't grant its leafy corridor between Julington Creek and Florida 16 protection from development.

The William Bartram Scenic Highway Corridor Group was formed in February 1998 to seek that protection under Florida's Scenic Highway program. So far, the state has designated eight scenic highways, and a stretch of Florida A1A in St. …

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