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Damaged irrigation system due for repair

Cross Creek residents and officials will meet to discuss when and how.

By JOHN BALZ, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002


CROSS CREEK -- City officials will meet next month with Cross Creek homeowners to determine when and how to fix a sprinkler system that was broken during construction of New Tampa's second city-run fire station.

Scheduled to attend the March 22 discussion are officials from the city water and sewer departments, Cross Creek residents and City Council representative Shawn Harrison.

"We'll sort it out then," said Sandra Anderson, consumer affairs manager with the Tampa water department. County officials might attend as well.

City crews accidentally damaged the system twice last year first while hooking the fire station on Green Pine Lane to the sewer system and again when installing additional traffic lights.

Workers broke the sprinkler heads while setting up their equipment and the power supply was cut as they drilled into the ground. The islands and entry ways at Dayflower Drive and Lark Bunting Drive have been without water since the summer.

The dented sprinkler heads were repaired, but the valves that control the water spray and the electrical supply line that powers the system remain out of order.

Although Cross Creek is in unincorporated Hillsborough County and uses county water, it borders parts of the city served by the Tampa Fire Department.

The Cross Creek Homeowners Association has discussed the matter with both city and county officials, and president Paul Ray is optimistic that a solution can be reached in the next two months. "We're not going to throw stones and cast blame, we just want to fix it," he said.

Cross Creek's original developers built an irrigation system but they did not register it in the statewide listing of underground utility structures.

When the city workers began digging, they had no idea a system even existed, said Ralph Metcalf, director of the Sewer Department.

The sewer department paid $1,050 to repair the broken sprinkler heads, but city officials are not sure what it will cost to repair the entire system.

Many people are unaware that the entrances are not being watered. But observant residents know Mother Nature has provided the only water for the grass covering the islands and surrounding the pond on the east side of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

A dry fall and winter have left the area brown and patchy, and homeowners are unable to plant decorative flowers around the Cross Creek entrance sign.

"It's mostly weeds all along the boulevard," said homeowner Regina Ramalheira. "There's no grass anymore."

-- John Balz can be reached at (813) 269-5313 or at balz@sptimes.com.

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