Environmental group to fight state agency’s approval of toll road through Split Oak Forest

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — The Split Oak Forest currently offers 1,700 acres of tranquility, but it may not be that way for long.

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The Central Florida Expressway Authority wants to extend Osceola Parkway more than a mile across the southwest corner of the forest.

In Tallahassee on Wednesday, the Florida Communities Trust Governing Board decided that the Osceola Parkway could, in fact, go through the forest.

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The land was originally set aside for conservation. In December 2019, Orange County approved an $800 million toll road to go through the forest.

The next year, voters passed a referendum undoing that decision.

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As to what happens now, that decision goes back to Orange and Osceola counties.

Officials with the environmental group Friends of Split Oak said they will sue forwhat was not only promised, but was also decided on by voters.

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Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.