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THA votes to demolish housing if Olympics come

The Tampa Housing Authority board unanimously approved a plan Wednesday that calls for the demolition and reconstruction of public housing units to make way for the Olympics, should Tampa win the bid for 2012.

The agreement is a first step in turning Tampa into a credible locale for the games by guaranteeing a site for an Olympic stadium and an Olympic Village to house athletes.

"This is a really big deal for us," said Ed Turanchik, who leads the committee called Florida 2012.

Next week, the plan goes to the Tampa City Council for approval.

Central Park and North Boulevard Homes will come down, if all goes as planned. In their place, Tampa's Olympic committee envisions housing for at least 17,000 people, state-of-the-art facilities for athletes and a huge stadium.

New public housing units will be built in mixed-income complexes within a 2-mile radius of the old complexes, according to the agreement. It also promises that senior residents won't be relocated more than once. Others might have to move several times.

While the plan facilitates the demolition of the aging complexes, it requires the Housing Authority to seek federal, state and private funding to help build the new homes. Florida 2012 will pay to temporarily relocate residents during the Olympic games.

Teen driver of stolen car

arrested after chase

TAMPA _ A 15-year-old driving a stolen car led deputies on 10-block chase Wednesday afternoon, and crashed into two patrol cars, a stop sign and a concrete pillar, officials said.

The teenager was arrested after he jumped out of the totaled stolen car and tried to run. The Times is not releasing his name because of his age.

Just before 2 p.m. at N 50th Street and Sligh Avenue, deputies saw the teenager behind the wheel of a 1998 Dodge Stratus that was reported stolen earlier in the day, officials said. Two patrol cars moved to box in the Stratus on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but the teenager rammed both cars and sped away. Officials said he caused $2,500 damage to the patrol cars.

The young suspect hit a stop sign as he drove away and blew out the right front tire. But he continued west on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and made it another 10 blocks before he lost control and rammed into a concrete pillar near N 40th Street. The teenager, who wasn't hurt, jumped out and ran the length of a football field before deputies caught him.

He was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. He has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, grand theft, aggravated fleeing, and eluding and resisting arrest.

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