by Art Levy
Updated 3 yearss ago
Dixie Hollins wants to create a port-style development on his family’s land in Citrus County. [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
Dixie Hollins’ family has owned thousands of acres between the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. 19 in Citrus County since 1942. Parts of the property have been used variously for rock mining, cattle and timber operations, and 4,500 acres purchased by Florida Power in the 1960s became the site of a nuclear power plant. Now, Hollins plans to use 547 of the 1,500 acres the family still holds to build a mixed-use, port-style development called Hollinswood Harbor that he envisions as his family’s legacy.
Hollins, 62, envisions a place where people will live, work and spend their recreational hours on the water — a modern version of a quaint fishing village with boat manufacturing and facilities for commercial fishermen. He says he’s “trying to create opportunities here for recreation and opportunities for jobs, so children when they live here and grow up here and get educated here don’t have to pack their bags and get a job somewhere out of the county or the state.”
At Hollins’ request, Citrus County commissioners have already rezoned the land to create a “port district,” which would allow marinas, wet slips and boat ramps, as well as restaurants, hotels, retail shops, commercial development, manufacturing and homes.
The state Department of Environmental Protection, in giving the project its preliminary approval, determined that the port district won’t impact manatee birthing and feeding areas along the nearby Withlacoochee River. So far, the project has won preliminary approval from the county, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council.
Hollins, meanwhile, plans to start work as soon as the economy improves enough to support the project. He expects the marina will come first. “I want people to drive by when I’m gone,” he says “and go, ‘Man, that is a unique place.’ ”