Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills looks to add sidewalks on school routes

ZEPHYRHILLS — City officials are hoping to give area students safer paths to schools by adding sidewalks to common bike and pedestrian routes.

City Planner Todd Vande Berg and Public Works Director Shane LeBlanc presented the city council with a tentative plan Monday for building sidewalks along portions of Ninth and 10th streets and 11th Avenue in the vicinity of Stewart Middle School, along with 20th Street near Zephyrhills High School.

Council members agreed there is a need for more sidewalks, saying they've watched students walking to and from school on non-paved routes.

"Anytime you find grooves in yards, it's a good indicator there's a need for a sidewalk," said Council member Jodi Wilkeson, adding that she would like city staff to confer with school officials to make sure they are in sync about desired pedestrian routes.

City staff will apply for a Safe Routes to School grant by the end of this month, which would cover 100 percent of the design and construction costs, said Vande Berg. No estimate on a price tag for the project is known yet, he added.

In other business, the council agreed to have an appraisal done on the historic Capt. Jeffries home. City Manager Jim Drumm said a recent inspection found the two-story, wood frame house to be structurally sound, with minor termite damage. A historical architect will also look at it and offer suggestions on improvements and possible uses, Drumm said.

The council agreed last month to look into buying the house at Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street in order to save it from neglect and deterioration. Built in 1911, it was home to Civil War veteran and Zephyrhills founding father Capt. Howard B. Jeffries. It claimed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

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