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Tuesday, Mar 31, 2015

Bus riders may get benches

Published:   |   Updated: May 9, 2013 at 09:44 AM

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Nancy Hearn of Brooksville rides THE Bus four times a week and often spends up to 20 minutes waiting at any one stop.

On Wednesday morning, in front of the stop on State Road 50 just past Wiscon Road, she did what she usually does: pace the sidewalk waiting for her ride.

But Hearn and thousands of others who use Hernando County’s mass transit system could find themselves sitting comfortably for the bus if commissioners approve a plan by Lions Clubs International.

The service organization is requesting permission to install benches at all bus stops and would sell advertising on them in a fundraising effort.

County Commission Chairman Dave Russell said The Lions Club is a “great philanthropic organization” and doesn’t see any negatives from installing benches, especially if it doesn’t cost taxpayers.

“It gives people a place to rest while they’re waiting for the bus,” Russell said. “I don’t see the harm in it.”

County Commissioner Nick Nicholson brought up the issue at the end of Tuesday’s county commission meeting so there was no formal discussion. The proposal will be brought back at an upcoming county commission meeting.

David Wermuth, president of the Hudson-Brooksville Lions Club, said the Lions logo will be affixed to the bench and local businesses will be allowed advertising space.

“We do everything from putting them up to maintaining them,” Wermuth said. “There is nothing needed from the city or county.”

Citrus County, he said, recently approved the program.

“Once (Hernando County) approves it, then (installation) is almost immediate,” Wermuth said. “Wherever they tell us to put the benches, wherever they want them, they’ll be installed.”

Profits from the advertisements will be divvied up between the Lions Club, the Special Olympics, the Boys & Girls Club of Hernando County and the rest to maintenance.

“The money stays right here,” Wermuth said. “We’re 100 percent volunteers. Every penny that comes in goes to the community.”

Hearn said she is all for the benches.

“That would be great,” she said.

And Hearn doesn’t think the county has to worry about vandalism, especially from the stops located in outlying areas.

“I don’t think we have to worry about that out here,” she said. “Unless they get stolen.”

(352) 544-5290

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