as an intentional plan by the community powers to decease South Brooksville property values (Loder 2006). 

The county has begun another attempt to clean up the site outlines in a 2010 Remedial Action Plan. The project is slated to be completed in 2015 (Behrendt 2010).  Nonetheless, residents of Mitchell Heights have filed a discrimination complaint against both the county and city with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claiming that the delays in the cleanup of the former DPW site contamination is due to deep-seated racial ideologies held by local powers. This ethnographic study examined what has brought both of those sides to this point, and more importantly, why this discussion even involves the establishment of “sides”, and how can an effective partnership be developed in the future.













Text Box: Figure 4: Aerial View of Former DPW Site in Mitchel Heights (Tampa Bay Times 2006)

Demographic & Geographic Data


            According to the United States Census Bureau, the City of Brooksville has a total area of 5.0 square miles located within the 589.08 square miles that is Hernando County (US Census 2010).  It is the geographic center of the State of Florida and is located approximately 45 miles North of the City of Tampa.


                                    Table 1: 2010 Census Data Comparision

2010 Census


Hernando County

Population, 2012 estimate






Black or African American



Persons below poverty level







5.0 sq. miles

589.08 sq. Miles


            A look at the 2010 US Census (Appendix II) reveals some interesting demographic details.  Hernando County has a population of 172,778 while the City of Brooksville has 7,719 residents within its limits (US Census 2010).  Yet while the State of Florida has a population that is 16% Black, Hernando County only has 5.5% of its population which identifies as “Black or African American” (US Census 2010).  The City of Brooksville is more in line with the states racial make-up in that it reports 18% “Black or African American” (US Census 2010).  Furthermore, 12.4% of “Black or African American” live in the small subsection of Brooksville known as South Brooksville (approximately 950 residents), which includes the Mitchell Heights neighborhood that is often referred to as having around 250 residents or 65 homes (US Census 2010). 

            From this we can conclude that the area of South Brooksville stands in stark contrast to not only the remainder of the City of Brooksville, but to the rest of the county as well in terms of being primarily “Black or African American.” Also telling is the census data reports that the percentage of persons below the poverty level in Brooksville (23.4%) is much higher then the rest of the county (12.8%) and the number of black owned business in the city is so small that it did not meet the standards for publication (US Census 2010). Not only is South Brooksville the bulk of the area’s black population, they can be said to operate less business and are most likely less well off financially.