TROUT CREEK — Cyclists zip through the forests. Fishermen lean over the boardwalks. Picnickers gather under the shelters. As all of this happens at 10 Hillsborough County parks along the Alafia River and near New Tampa, few realize what also could occur: These parks could fill 10 feet deep with floodwaters.
The parks are named Lithia Springs, Alderman's Ford, Trout Creek, Morris Bridge, Off-road Loop Trail, Flatwoods, Dead River, Sargeant, Oak Ridge Equestrian Area and Jefferson Equestrian Area. They are clustered around the Alafia and Hillsborough rivers. After torrential, hurricane-caliber rains, the North Tampa parks will take the Hillsborough River's overflow, sparing Tampa Palms, Temple Terrace and Tampa downstream....
TROUT CREEK — Cyclists zip through the forests. Fishermen lean over the boardwalks. Picnickers gather under the shelters. As all of this happens at eight Hillsborough County parks near New Tampa, few realize what also could occur: These parks could fill 10 feet deep with floodwaters. The parks are named Trout Creek, Morris Bridge, Off-road Loop Trail, Flatwoods, Dead River, Sargeant, Oak Ridge Equestrian Area and Jefferson Equestrian Area. They are clustered around the Hillsborough River. After torrential, hurricane-caliber rains, they will take the river's overflow, sparing Tampa Palms, Temple Terrace and Tampa downstream. "All of those parks are designed to be under water," said Mike Holtkamp, operations director for the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which owns the land. When they flood, it won't be an accident....
TAMPA — Political newcomer Kevin Beckner has spent the better part of two years campaigning for a Hillsborough County Commission seat.
That work paid off Tuesday, as he held a comfortable lead in the at-large District 6 Democratic primary over two rivals, with most precincts reporting.
He ran well ahead of activist Denise Layne, making her third try at a commission seat. And strip club owner Joe Redner finished last in his eighth bid for elected office....
TAMPA — "He's been mute for five years."
"He sits there like a little mouse."
"His history is one of waiting for others to bring real solutions to the table."
Never in his seven-year political career has Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan been criticized like this. The question is whether anybody is paying attention.
Hagan's challenger, Tom Aderhold of Keystone, blasts Hagan from his Web site and from the street. He's been knocking on doors for three months in their north Hillsborough district....
08/16/08 Real Estate
NEW TAMPA — In 2003 a developer, a homeowner association and a cable TV company made a deal that was a portrait of efficiency:
A new development, and every house in it, would be wired from the get-go for cable and Internet service. Fees would be collected in bulk through everyone's homeowner dues. The cable company, blessed with those shortcuts and years of guaranteed money, would keep its prices competitive....
NEW TAMPA — City officials have halved the projected cost of a four-lane eastern end of Cross Creek Boulevard to $10-million from $20-million.
"We went back and did it based on present market conditions," said Jean Dorzback, Tampa's director of transportation planning. "The market conditions have really changed from what we had."
The savings mean the city, with $28-million identified for New Tampa road projects, might be able to simultaneously afford the Cross Creek widening and a $20-million bridge spanning Interstate 75 between West Meadows and Tampa Palms....
NEW TAMPA — City officials have decided to build a $20-million bridge over Interstate 75 here, even though the future toll expressway to be served by it has been shelved.
"What didn't go away is the city's obligation to build that bridge," said Steve Daignault, Tampa's administrator for public works.
Council member Joseph Caetano agreed, despite fears in his own neighborhood, Tampa Palms, that the bridge will fill a major street with cut-through traffic....
TAMPA — Mayor Pam Iorio wants to end a long-standing policy that opens Tampa's recreation programs equally to city residents and outsiders.
"It's something that we are looking to implement very, very soon," said Santiago Corrada, Tampa's neighborhood services administrator, "giving city residents first crack at the programs the city residents are paying for."
The change would create two sign-up periods for each recreation program. The first would be open only to city residents. The second would let others sign up for the openings that remain....
NEW TAMPA — The east-west expressway is dead. But its companion bridge is still alive, dangling like a door hinge on transportation maps.
So Tuesday, City Council member Joseph Caetano has planned a public meeting on Tampa's proposal to build a $22-million bridge spanning Interstate 75. It's set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday in the media center of Freedom High School, 17410 Commerce Park Blvd....
08/06/08 Local Government
NEW TAMPA — The housing development is named Live Oak Preserve. But the road beside it features 90 dead oaks.
Among the 200 oaks freshly planted last year along the new extension of Kinnan Street, another 80 look sickly, with some bare branches, some leafy ones. Only 30 of the new oaks seem fully green.
They were planted pursuant to county law, accepted by county commissioners, but watered by nobody through one of the driest autumns in years. Now, the county is planning to pull out the dead ones....
NEW TAMPA — Neighborhood leaders in Live Oak Preserve say they want to start using a road that Hillsborough County proposes to close.
"It'll save us 20 minutes of travel time at peak hour," said Michael Ceparano, homeowner president in Live Oak's Cedarwood village.
Hearing that, county officials decided Thursday to scale back a plan to close the northern mile of Kinnan Street, which runs along Live Oak's eastern boundary. John Newton, county director of transportation maintenance, said his department probably will propose closing Kinnan just north of Oak Preserve Boulevard, the main road through Live Oak....
NEW TAMPA — The Road to Nowhere may, in effect, become a Trail to Nowhere.
Hillsborough County is proposing to fence off the north portion of Kinnan Street — a 1-mile boulevard that was completed last year to serve residents of booming new suburbs at the Hillsborough-Pasco line — because it's serving only walkers, illegal dumpers and who-knows-what else.
Pasco County has rejected a connection to Kinnan. And the Hillsborough suburbs on each side of it aren't booming after all....
On the day they filed to run for board seats in the Cory Lake Isles Community Development District, three candidates issued a joint press release, complete with an image of the U.S. Capitol and an acronym, SMART.
Soon, three opponents retaliated in kind.
Now, the dueling trios are planning neighborhood gatherings, waves of fliers and the kind of competition common to City Council races. ...
NEW TAMPA — Commuters heading for Interstate 75 here will get a long-awaited break Thursday morning — a flyover.
The Florida Department of Transportation said Monday that one lane will open on the tall new bridge. It will allow southbound drivers to veer off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, soar over I-75, then merge into its southbound lane.
"We're pretty comfortable with the Thursday date unless there's a complete washout that night," the DOT's John McShaffrey said Monday....
07/19/08 Bizarre News
TAMPA — How many different ways can you plunge off the end of a pier?
The Red Baron — with Snoopy already dunked — disintegrated. So did a giant Cuban sandwich, its top slice peeling away. A huge purple boot lost its red fur lining in midair. The space shuttle and a fire truck splashed upside down.
"We built it a little too nose-heavy," said Max Hirsh of Los Locos, group of aeronautical engineering students at DeLand's Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University who fashioned the space shuttle. ...