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Bay Plaza focus group gets extension, too

The Bay Plaza Cos. got extra time on a downtown redevelopment contract, so why not the same for the community task force created to review the plan?

Mayor David Fischer last week expected a 40-member task force to hold its first meeting July 15, but he informed City Council members Wednesday that the first meeting probably will be July 22.

Today council members should discuss the process for receiving public opinion as Bay Plaza redraws its downtown redevelopment plan and next week finalizes the members of the "community focus group," said a memo from the mayor's office.

The plan is to hold focus group meetings at various locations throughout the city. Focus group meetings are to be held throughout the city.

A week ago, the board voted 5-3 to grant a 21-month extension to Bay Plaza.

By mid-September, Bay Plaza and its design consultant are to prepare a preliminary design plan based on community input and financial feasibility.

The focus group is to review it in October, Bay Plaza will refine it, and by late November the focus group will take another look. The final revised plan is supposed to be presented to the City Council and focus group by the end of the year. Then, over the next three months, the City Council and various city boards are to sign off the revised plan.

Father charged in girl's death

RIVERVIEW _ A 4-year old girl was killed Tuesday and her father was charged with DUI manslaughter after the truck he was driving hit a bridge abutment, Hillsborough sheriff's deputies said.

Froilan Martinez Jr., 39, of 7020 Parliament Drive was driving east on Riverview Drive about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday when he lost control of his pickup and hit the abutment, deputies said. His daughter, Delzendia Martinez, was thrown from the vehicle.

She died at Tampa General Hospital. Authorities said Martinez had been drinking.

He was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license involving death, and DUI manslaughter. He remained in the Hillsborough County Jail Wednesday night in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Car races through 3 counties

A man driving a green Cadillac fled across three county lines late Wednesday before thunderstorms forced sheriff's deputies to halt their chase.

A deputy in Pinellas County was the first to try to stop the Cadillac, but a radio dispatcher said the deputy did not the pursue the car. When the driver would not stop, the deputy gave up.

As the Cadillac continued north on U.S. 19, Pasco County deputies followed the car for several miles before breaking off near Hudson Avenue. A deputy in Hernando County later saw the car speeding east on State Road 50.

Hernando Sgt. Kevin Morrison said his deputies were told the car had fled from a hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian in Pinellas County. Morrison said he called off the chase because the roads were wet from heavy rains.

He said he could not justify the public threat of a pursuit because he lacked details about the hit-and-run accident in Pinellas County. Nor did he know whether the driver was accused of committing a serious felony, Morrison said. The Cadillac, which had a temporary license tag, was last seen near State Road 50 and Truck Route 50, he said.