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Oldsmar lands $150,000 to develop Mobbly Bayou

The state grant will pay for picnic shelters, a fishing pier, observation towers, hiking trails and more.

By JULIE CHURCH, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002


OLDSMAR -- Work on the city's much-anticipated Mobbly Bayou Preserve will get a boost later this year from a $150,000 state grant.

City Council members recently approved an agreement to use a state grant to pay for development of part of the 216-acre preserve at the tip of Tampa Bay.

The land and water conservation grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection provides $150,000. It will be matched by $150,000 from the city's capital improvement budget.

Among other things, the grant will pay for picnic shelters, a fishing pier, observation towers and hiking trails. Parking facilities, landscaping and lighting also will be included, Oldsmar parks and recreation director Lynn Rives said.

Work began last week on an access road, which is being funded through a $50,000 state coastal management grant, Rives said. The city won't start construction on the amenities paid for by the $150,000 grant until fall.

Construction of restrooms and a canoe launch will begin in late summer or early fall. They are being paid for with a Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grant.

"The first thing we want to do is get the public into the park so they become familiar with it," Rives said. "Then we will work on the other parts."

The rest of the Mobbly Bayou Preserve won't be completed for about 10 years, Rives said. The preserve is expected to cost a total of $1.2-million.

City officials hope to preserve as much of the natural feel of the area as possible. Bald eagles, ospreys, pelicans, egrets and fox squirrels thrive among Mobbly Bayou's mangroves, wax myrtles, live oaks, slash pines and palmettos.

"It's giving people the opportunity to see what real Florida is like," said Melodee Dinwiddie, the city's executive assistant who put together the city's grant application. "They will be able to picnic, hike and play.

"Obviously the state must feel that it's a pretty good project to be awarding us this money, which only reiterates what we the people of Oldsmar have thought all along," she said.

-- Staff writer Ed Quioco contributed to this report. Julie Church can be reached at (727) 445-4229 or church@sptimes.com.

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