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Needed: Light on Cross Creek

Within shouting distance of the intersection at Kinnan Boulevard and Cross Creek Boulevard is a middle school, a library, and bustling shopping center. But no traffic light.

Residents are asking the county to install one quickly before a tragedy occurs.

But as of now, the county doesn't have the $350,000 needed to install the light and add turn lanes. The county recently lost out on a state grant to cover the cost.

In addition to Benito Middle School, the New Tampa Regional Library and Cross Creek Centre, Hunter's Green Elementary school sits west of the intersection and a 600-plus unit apartment complex is to the east.

According to Don Nevins, a member of the New Tampa Transportation Task Force, almost 2,000 children use the intersection every day.

One possibility is to shift money out of the Bruce B. Downs widening project to install the traffic light.

Commissioners Jim Norman and Ken Hagan, a resident of Cross Creek, agreed to reconsider the issue during budget negotiations and hold a community meeting at a later date.

Back in court over Christian school

KEYSTONE _ With visions of privacy and serenity, James and Joyce Gills bought 90 acres off Lake Mound two years ago.

Problem is, the land is next to the proposed future home of First Baptist Church of Citrus Park. Twice, Hillsborough County Land Use Hearing Officer Margaret Tusing ruled against the church's development plans, which call for a new sanctuary and modern school facilities to meet growing enrollment at Citrus Park Christian School. Twice, the county's Land Use Appeals Board has overturned her opinions that called the project too intense for the community.

Members heard the case again this spring because the Gills convinced Hillsborough Circuit Judge James Arnold they had overstepped their authority. But the board stood its ground. After ruling for the church again in May, the Gills are once again turning to the courts.

In a suit filed June 19, they want a judge to rescind the church's special use permit.

Meanwhile, the county's Department of Planning and Growth Management has granted the church preliminary approval for its building plans.

Commission adopts Citrus Park Village plan

CITRUS PARK _ Months of bitter infighting over the Citrus Park's future are officially over, though bad feelings are sure to linger.

Over the objections of naysayers afraid of overdevelopment, the Hillsborough County Commission voted to incorporate the Citrus Park Village plan into the county's comprehensive land use plan.

The master plan outlines an 820-acre area bounded by Gunn Highway on the south, the Veterans Expressway on the east, Sheldon Road on the west, Gunn and S Mobley to the north. It calls for mixed housing densities and landscaped thoroughfares that will encourage people to walk from place to place.

The biggest battles over the past two years involved disagreements over the amount of development that could result. Supporters of the current plan said the density limits, while allowing some taller buildings, would help Citrus Park control development. Opponents angrily countered that the plan would allow too much building and was a cash cow for land owners eager to sell their properties to developers.

Good golfing in Pebble Creek

PEBBLE CREEK _ Golfers hit the greens for a good cause at the Cesar Gonzmart Eighth Annual Memorial Golf Tournament May 2 at Pebble Creek Golf & Country Club in New Tampa.

The tournament raised more than $55,000.

The University of South Florida Athletic Association received $25,000, the Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute received $10,000 and the Adela & Cesar Gonzmart Endowed Memorial Scholarship, which helps USF's Latino Scholarship Program, received more than $20,000.

The tournament, started in 1995 by Richard and Casey Gonzmart, fourth-generation owner and operators of the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, is held each year in honor of their father who died in 1992 from pancreatic cancer. Cesar Gonzmart was an enthusiastic supporter of the Latin community and education.

Money was raised from entry fees and corporate sponsors. Since its beginning, the memorial golf tournament has raised more than $345,000 for charity.

_ JOHN BALZ, SHARI MISSMAN MILLER, JOSH ZIMMER

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