Osceola County officials plan $3 million landscaping project

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OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. —

Drivers on the Turnpike may soon notice changes as they pass through Osceola County. A plan is in the works for a $3 million landscaping project at the exits and entrances to U.S. 192.

Pauline Rinkus has lived in Osceola County for 52 years and on Monday she was picking up roses for her own landscaping project.

"(It's) $14.99 for those beautiful roses," Rinkus said. "I just want to have my yard full of these."

It's a tiny fraction of the multimillion-dollar cost of a landscaping and beautification project at the on and offramps at U.S. 192 and the Turnpike.

"I think we could use it in better places like there's some roads around here that need to be repaved," Rinkus said of the money.

Officials want to make the area more of a grand entrance to Osceola County and attract drivers to nearby businesses.

"We don't have a great-looking entrance into our community. Our citizens should get that," Commissioner Frank Attkisson said.

Attkisson said the Turnpike has committed $500,000 to get the project started. The remaining $2.5 million will gradually come in from a community redevelopment agency created for the east side of U.S. 192.

"This is not money that will have to go to the general welfare of the community so the question is how do taxpayers want to spend their money? They want to be beautified," Attkisson said.

A new shopping center is already bringing more business to the area and officials hoping the beautification will add to the development.

"Osceola is going to look great too!" Attkisson said.