OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Dozens of residents walked out of Monday night's Osceola County commission meeting frustrated and disappointed they say. County commissioners voted in favor of building the extension of the Osceola Parkway through Split Oak Forest.
- Supporters want to keep Split Oak Forest untouched
- Osceola Parkway Expansion supporters say project is needed
- Regardless of how the public felt, commissioners passed road expansion
- Learn more about the Osceola Parkway Extension ►
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Outside, of the Osceola County government building before the meeting started protesters held signs high, saying, "Hands Off Split Oak."
Inside, the Osceola County chambers were so packed that an overflow room had to be opened. An overwhelming amount of people who spoke out during public comment were in favor of keeping Split Oak Forest untouched.
"Habitat protections since 1994 … Split Oak has been protected for the last 25 years … Who left us God to make that change? This is a natural resource and it's are priceless," said Laura Tweed from St .Cloud.
There was almost three hours' worth of public comment mainly in opposition of having the roadway built but commissioners moved forward and passed the road expansion. One resident walked out during the meeting as the decision was being made.
Osceola County Commissioner Peggy Choudry was the only one who voted against the resolution. She said that with the deal present, there is land in retrospect that is being given back.
"Creating a movement, a boots on the ground movement … I love to see that whether I agree with it or not," Choudhry said. "Because of your voices CFX (Central Florida Expressway Authority) looked at other alternatives.
The approval expands Osceola Parkway from State Road 417 near Orlando International Airport about nine miles east, cutting through the Split Oak Forest. Supporters say the road is very much needed due to the growth coming. However, the majority of those who came out to Monday night's meeting do not see it the same way.
"How dare you use people to put your road where you want it to go? Where your developer wants it to go? Where your adjoining property owner with … Intense political pressure wants it to go?" said Kimberly Buchheit from Apopka.