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Sidewalks sought in Safety Harbor

When the city commissioners sit down tonight to continue discussions about the 1996-97 budget, several homeowners' groups are hoping they'll cough up a little extra money for them.

Every year since 1992, the commissioners have set aside money to spread among homeowners' groups for street lights, speed bumps and landscaping requests. Most of those years, the requests didn't near the $50,000 cap. This year's requests top $78,000.

"We usually get some requests, but not that many," said Pam Corbino, a commissioner who has been through the doling-out process before. "I can't speak for the whole commission, but we look at things objectively. If it warrants being done immediately, then we will find the money."

The biggest requests are for sidewalks. Homeowners' groups at Huntington Isles and Bridgeport Estates have requested $60,000 in sidewalk construction for three areas near their subdivisions.

"This is the second or third year we've requested it," said James E. Morrow, president of the Bridgeport Estates Homeowners Association. "There is a beautiful park down there we can't walk to."

Morrow was speaking of Philippe Park, about a half-mile south of Bridgeport on State Road 590. A sidewalk runs most of the way from the park to the subdivision but stops at the CSX Railroad crossing about 125 feet short of the subdivision. Morrow said that the area is marshy with tall grass, and that children on bikes have to ride in the roadway to get across the tracks.

"It's an incomplete project," Morrow said. "The average person can't utilize it, because it's pretty treacherous getting through that no man's land."

The city's staff has worked with the state transportation officials to make the sidewalk a reality. The project would include a footbridge and walking surface across the track on the southern side of the winding roadway. The cost to the city would be about $30,000.

Corbino said the city hasn't installed sidewalks in such areas because much of it is county land. She expected the commission to discuss right of way issues and the feasibility of adding sidewalks during the budget work session tonight.

Huntington Isles wants two sidewalks, one on the southern side of Enterprise Road, from Green Springs Road to the CSX tracks, and another along Green Springs directly in front of the subdivision.

The commissioners can use reserve funds or decide not to proceed with some of the projects.

If you go

Safety Harbor city commissioners and staff will conduct the second of three budget workshops at 6:30 tonight at City Hall, 750 Main St. One topic of discussion will be the requests from homeowners' associations for funding for neighborhood projects.