Citrus County bridge to be dedicated to environmental activist

By Kim Leoffler, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, July 13, 2017

The name of a prominent community member and activist in Citrus County will soon be listed on a local bridge.

  • Citrus County bridge to be dedicated to environmental activist
  • Plaque with name of Jim Bitter to be placed on the Halls River Bridge
  • Jim Bitter helped preserve the wetlands near bridge

The “Halls River Bridge” will be dedicated in memory of Jim Bitter.

Community members said the wetlands just off the Halls River Bridge in Homossasa would look a lot different if it wasn’t for Jim Bitter.

Bitter fought the development of a condominium complex there for 11 years. Those close to him said he believed it would take away from the natural beauty and cause quite the traffic jam.

That is just one way Bitter helped preserved the natural landscape along waterways in Citrus County.

“He wanted the old ambiance of the river, the scenic beauty, and everything carried on through generations,” Bernie Levin, a friend of Jim Bitter, said.

Another friend, Gary Bartell, added, “If it wasn’t for Jim Bitter the water quality, the scenery, the controlled growth would not be where it’s at on the Homossasa River.”

After Bitter passed away in 2016, Bernie Levin pushed to have the Halls River Bridge dedicated to his memory.

“This man has a legacy, it deserves to be prolonged through generations. No one could ever replace what Jim Bitter did for this area. It’s not only Homossasa, it is Chasiwishka, Crystal River, and Citrus County. He is a true icon,” Levin said.

The county commissioners approved the addition of a plaque holding Jim’s name at the bridge entrance. Those close to him hope as people drive across the bridge, they will think of the man that helped preserved the natural views.

“When people are coming over the bridge and the property he saved just to the right, I hope they can tie his name to it and possibly look him up and see all his accomplishments,” Bartell said.

The plaque is just a small gesture for a man that means so much to the people in the community.

Prior to his environmental work, Jim Bitter served in the Korean War where he earned a Purple Heart.