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A Tampa Palms flirtation

In a matter of months, Tampa Mayor Dick Greco became the hottest new homeowner in New Tampa. He waved to neighbors, marveled at the wildlife and even attended a residents' meeting without saying a word.

It didn't take long, though, for the novelty to wear off.

Less than a year after moving into the Reserve, a gated community in Tampa Palms, Greco decided to return closer to downtown. The 20-mile commute, loathed by many in New Tampa, simply became too much for his hectic schedule of meetings and appearances.

But what about his house?

Greco sold it to a couple from Arkansas for $700,000, according to Hillsborough County property records.

Danny and Mary Ellen Thompson bought the house in May. The couple moved here from Little Rock, Ark., where they owned a condominium. Danny Thompson is 55 and Mary Ellen just turned 56.

Greco and his wife, Linda, purchased the vacant lot at 6208 Emmons Lane for $150,000. They had outgrown their town home in Ballast Point in South Tampa and wanted to move. During construction of their new house, they rented a place in Wyndham, another village in Tampa Palms.

Greco moved into the Reserve in 1998, becoming one of the few Tampa mayors to live north of Seminole Heights. The house reportedly has four bedrooms, Romanesque columns, a whirlpool and closets the size of bedrooms. Every home in the Reserve must be at least 3,800 square feet.

Greco's departure disappointed some people in New Tampa, who thought his living there would add legitimacy to the new community and, possibly, bring it more attention.

One neighbor said the Grecos were friendly and always said hello.

They weren't the only celebrity-types to call New Tampa home. Former New York Yankees and Tampa Devil Rays third baseman Wade Boggs lives in the Reserve, and police Chief Bennie Holder resides down the way in Hunter's Green.

_ Times files were used for this report.