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Builder makes room for the new

(ran W edition)

When it comes to housing for people in need, building contractor J. Stephen Tisdale sees a promised land in Pinellas County, but it's under old, broken-down buildings.

"I think it's a matter of calling in an air strike and tearing down old houses _ the boarded up buildings, the crack houses _ and building new ones instead of re-building," he said. "It's more cost-effective than to spend $20,000 on refurbishing an old, broken-down home that in the end will only be worth $25,000 or $30,000."

With financing from the city's Working to Improve our Neighborhoods program and sponsorship by the Mount Zion Baptist Church, Tisdale recently completed a new single-family home at 1247 Fargo St. S. An owner, found through the church, will move in later this month.

Tisdale also has been awarded a contract to build four homes in Hillsborough County for the Alliance for Affordable Housing. The homes will be completed in late April.

The 35-year-old owners of Lane's World, a new music studio at 2520 Central Ave., have jammed together for years, said co-owner Rick DiTonto. "We're two Jersey boys. We grew up together playing the blues," DiTonto said.

What began as a hobby space for DiTonto and Erl Lane has turned into a popular rehearsal room for area musicians.

"It (the studio) began as a play toy for us. We'd come to jam there. I play harmonica and Erl plays the guitar. We realized the area needed a space like this and now we are even starting to get customers from other studios," he said.

The twosome's customers include rhythm and blues musicians, a rap band and several rock 'n' roll bands.

For $8 an hour, Lane's World offers musicians a rehearsal room equipped with videotape machines, drum sets, amplifiers, microphone systems and 16 feet of mirrors.

Julian Fant has been named manager of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce, a position he held from 1961 to 1964. He also served as the city's mayor from 1965 to 1975.

In 1961, Fant and his family moved here from St. Augustine where he served as the assistant manager and tourism director of the St. Augustine-St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.

Marylee Miller and Joseph Williams Jr. have been named employees of the year at Bayfront Medical Center. Miller is an administrative secretary in the pastoral care department, and Williams is a noninvasive cardiology specialist.

Scherer Construction & Engineering Inc., 2152 14th Circle N, St. Petersburg, has been awarded the contract with For Eyes Optical Corp. in Tampa for the interior finish of 3,128 square feet.

Do you have St. Petersburg area business news? Please send to Piper Jones, Business News Department, Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Photos may be sent, but not all will be used, and they cannot be returned.