Florida’s Scenic Overseas Highway: Garry Balogh Inspiring Excellence Award

Florida’s Scenic Overseas Highway: Garry Balogh Inspiring Excellence Award

Photo: Keys Weekly
“Traversing over the bridges outlooking the blue waters of the Florida Keys never gets old, especially for Islamorada Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Director Judy Hull.

‘I think my favorite part is driving to work or to meetings and looking out the window at the gorgeous view and just thinking how incredibly lucky we are to be living, working and playing here,’ she said.

Hull played a major role in enhancing the scenic image of Overseas Highway, and her leadership and efforts went rewarded in early November as she received the 2019 Garry Balogh Inspiring Excellence Award during a Florida Scenic Highways meeting in DeBary.


Photo: Keys Weekly

The award honors the late Balogh, a state Department of Transportation employee who was responsible for the designation and successful implementation of many Florida Scenic Highways. Recognizing leadership, innovation and achievements that have made a lasting impact on a scenic highway, the award was destined for Hull, who played a key role in resurrecting the byway organization in the Keys and achieving All-American Road status for Overseas Highway.

‘Judy is the one-and-only Floridian to get a road recognized nationally as an All- American Road, the highest designation possible by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation,’ said Jeff Caster, program coordinator for the Florida Scenic Highways Program. ‘And 10 years later, it remains the state’s only All American Road, one of only 31 nationally.’

The Florida Keys Scenic Highway was designated as a Florida Scenic Highway in 2001. The byway was managed by Clean Florida Keys, but after two years, it disbanded and the organization was no more. That’s when Hull stepped in to bring life back to the group, thus establishing the Florida Keys Scenic Corridor that assumed management and responsibility.

Once established, Hull worked to reestablish long-neglected partnerships up and down the Keys. From the chambers of commerce to the county and Florida Department of Transportation, she led updates to an outdated corridor management plan while guiding the organization and its missions and vision into the future.

That vision led to All-American Highway status for the 110-miles of road from Key Largo to Key West. Designated by the Federal Highway Administration in 2009, Overseas Highway is the only All-American Road in Florida, and one of 30 in the U.S. The designation brought significant research and coordination, and Hull says the application filled a three-ring binder. In achieving an All-American Road status, the thoroughfare must possess characteristics of national significance that don’t exist elsewhere — making it a visitor destination in and of itself…

Originally completed in 1938, the Overseas Highway incorporates 42 bridges over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. They include the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon, which stretches 6.79 miles across open water and was referred to on its completion as ‘the eighth wonder of the world.”

— Jim McCarthy, Keys Weekly
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Scenic Highways: Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

Scenic Highways: Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail

Photo: News-Journal, Jewell Tomazin
“Between the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, The Casements and Rockefeller Gardens, and beachfront parks, Florida’s north Volusia County is home to many photo-worthy places.

One of Florida’s well-known scenic routes, the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail, is stunning and diverse from start to finish.

Narrow roads pass through preserved oceanfront on Highway A1A, wind along rivers and creeks on High Bridge Road and Walter Boardman Lane, venture beneath oaks and beside sugar mill ruins on Old Dixie Highway and are lined by the luxurious waterfront homes on John Anderson Drive…

With a loop of more than 30 miles surrounding the Halifax River, there are beautiful sights on every corner. Pictures do no justice to the trail, best explored by car or by bicycle, for those who have the endurance.

Only a few feet of land separates the road in some areas, which winds along marsh, creeks and rivers on High Bridge Road.

Preserved barrier island and dune habitats can be seen along parts of John Anderson Drive and A1A, giving passersby a glimpse of Old Florida…”

— Jewell Tomazin, News-Journal
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President signs National Scenic Byways bill into law

President signs National Scenic Byways bill into law

Photo: Acadia All-American Road, Scenic America

“Last night the White House announced that President Trump signed into law the ‘Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019.’

This is a great victory for all of us! Together we made phone calls and sent emails to our Members of Congress and that work paid off. Congratulations, and thank you for making Scenic America who we are today.

The law requires the Secretary of Transportation to start the application process for new byways within 90 days and designate a round of new National Scenic Byways within one year. We’ll keep you updated as this process unfolds.

Click here to read Scenic America’s full statement, along with those of allied organizations, on the signing of the legislation. To better understand how this new law will benefit communities along scenic byways everywhere, please read our editorial published in The Hill last week.

We would again like to thank Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) for their leadership in the House, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) for their leadership in the Senate. ”

— Scenic America

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J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Highway annual meeting

J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Highway annual meeting

Meeting Photo: FDOT
“Designated in 2010, the J.C. Penney Memorial Scenic Highway, located in the Town of Penney Farms, celebrates the rich history of the surrounding community and the ongoing dedication of a grass roots organization focused on education and advocacy for a unique way of life. With the support of numerous devoted and enthusiastic volunteers, the byway has become a focal point in the community.

Photo: J. C. Penny Scenic Highway

Recently, the byway organization held their annual meeting at the Penney Farms Retirement Community. With nearly 45 people in attendance the group reviewed current projects, discussed upcoming events and held elections for the new year with all current board members being reelected and excited to take on the challenges of another term…”

— FDOT and J. C. Penney Scenic Highway

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Crawfordville: Historic Tourism Harvey’s historic truck display

Crawfordville: Historic Tourism Harvey’s historic truck display

Photo: Narcity.com
“…The Truck Graveyard is a group of old classic automobiles hidden in the middle of Crawfordville highway.

Nestled in the virescent forest you will see a group of defunct and rusty classic cars neatly set aside to decay. The perfectly aligned cars give this site an eerie graveyard feel that is only seen in films. What is surprising is that not many know the history and background of this perfectly arranged art installation.

The graveyard sits on the side of the road on Highway 319 near Crawfordville, on the Big Bend Scenic Byway. According to Only In Your State, the rust-covered vehicles were arranged in order from oldest to newest by the owner, Pat Harvey.

In this secluded area rest about 30 classic vehicles dating from the early 1900s all the way to the mid-1970s…

Harvey’s family used these cars and its parts on the Harvey family farm. Once the automobiles had no use, they were moved to the woods and let to rest. The site has become popular among locals and photographers looking for a unique backdrop. The car display features Ford automobiles and even a classic DeSoto vehicle…”

— Jannely Espinal, Narcity

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Florida Scenic Highways: “District Five Byways Workshop”

Florida Scenic Highways: “District Five Byways Workshop”

Photo: Florida Scenic Highways

“Volunteer recruitment and retention was the theme for the day at the third annual District Five Byway Workshop held at the Florida Department of Transportation/District Five offices in Deland on March 28th.

This day-long workshop served as an opportunity for byway organizations and others involved with the Florida Scenic Highways Program to engage, learn and have fun.

Claudia Calzaretta, the District Scenic Highways Coordinator welcomed the 30+ participants with a review of the many accomplishments that the District’s byways have completed over the last 18 months. She then reviewed her DSHC work plan for the upcoming year and finished her general session with a review of the exciting findings of the Scenic Sumter Economic Impact study.

Much of the remainder of the morning was spent listening to guest speakers that touched on the day’s theme of ‘volunteerism’, including Nancy Heller with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) who discussed a partnering opportunity that can place retired people with not-for-profit organizations to train and provide paid volunteer support to the byway organizations…

For further information on this Workshop, to get a copy of these presentation materials, or anything else associated with District Five Byways, please contact Claudia Calzaretta.”

— Florida Scenic Highways

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