Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Main Street - Clermont, Florida
There is so much growth in the Orlando area, especially west and north, that recent orange groves now feature massive housing projects.
Clermont is about 20 miles west of Orlando and while it still has a small town vibe, that is changing rapidly as more and more developments take shape and people move into the former groves by the droves. The Clermont area is also of interest because it is very hilly country and thus very different from other areas of Florida which are basically flat. There are trails used by bicycle riders which are very nice but because of the large hills become a real test of one's strength and stamina!
My feeling is that all this construction and all the people moving to Florida are a disaster of enormous proportions. The reason we have so many sink holes in central Florida is due to the stress originated by this development. The nature of Florida's limestone is such that when water invades its infrastructure already weakened by construction of homes, businesses and schools, it caves in. While we've had some spectacular sink holes, you ain't seen nothing yet.
In 1985, when we moved to Florida from Texas, there were about 12 million residents. Today, we're closing in on 20 million. Ocala, which ten years ago, was still mostly a sleepy little town, has become a busy metropolis with all the attendant problems of traffic gridlock, burgeoning schools, hostile political networks which pitch those who would preserve a little sanity against those with a Chamber of Commerce mentality who insist more is better, the constant need for new medical facilities, and crime, among other things.
Clermont represents that movement and those problems as well as any city in Central Florida.
I remember some years back asking a woman tour guide in The Villages, who was singing the praises of The Villages, (which is a little further northwest) insisting it was the best place in the world to live, when she thought we'd reach the point where so many people would turn her paradise into hell on earth. She didn't like the question and simply insisted the developers of The Villages would never allow that to happen. Then I knew we were in trouble.
Now, understand that none of this takes into account global warming and climate change which is already sending 3-4 inches of water into downtown Miami during high tide. Salt-water intrusion into the water supply will soon make that water unusable. Our ocean-front cities and homes are in a critical situation, especially as the most recent reports from climate scientists insist that the seas are rising faster than they originally assumed and by the year 2100 much if not most of south Florida and almost all the beachfront areas will be under water.
People will find 1) their property no longer has any value, and 2) they need to get the hell out of Dodge, soon!
How, you ask, has our state government handled this crisis? By hiding their collective heads, ostrich style, in the sinking sands. In fact, an executive order has gone out instructing state employees never to use the words, "climate change," or "global warming."
My fear, living high and dry in Ocala, is that we're going to not only be inundated by folks living north of the Mason-Dixon line, but by all those sopping wet souls who currently reside in Miami and Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton and Palm Beach and Cocoa Beach, and Daytona Beach and Jacksonville, and Naples, and Ft. Myers, and Charlotte, and Tampa Bay, and all areas in between.
But then again, I may have a beach in my front yard. That would be cool. I could charge a fee to use it.