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Twelve Oaks divided on way to combat crime

© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002

TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- Dave Tinkey thinks it's a waste of time. Jane McIver thinks it's a necessity.

Both are members of the Twelve Oaks Special District, a group that met with the community last week to discuss closing one of the entrances to their sprawling Town 'N Country subdivision.

Tinkey, McIver and the rest of Twelve Oaks are deeply divided over how to decrease crime and traffic in the 994-home community. Residents, who have discussed a variety of options over the years, learned of a temporary fix but did not settle on a permanent solution at Wednesday's meeting.

For years, board members have proposed limiting access by building gates at its six entrances.

When that idea drew protests, Hillsborough County planners and engineers asked the community to explore a plan for traffic calming instead. The board considered several measures -- one way streets, narrowed roads and speed bumps -- before deciding to close Twelve Oaks Boulevard at Hanley Road.

However, this plan has its own detractors and drawbacks. The downside to closing the road is that it would force many residents to take a big detour to reach a main thoroughfare. Plus, the cost would be prohibitive, Tinkey said. So right now they can't agree on whether to close the Hanley Road entrance.

Rob Little, a member of the Twelve Oaks Civic Association, said he preferred closing the entrance.

"I'd drive a half-mile out of my way to another entrance if I knew my neighbor was safe," Little said. But, he said, the neighborhood also should rely on the other means of protection already in place, such as the citizen's patrol and crime watch.

In the interim, the Twelve Oaks Special District has agreed to put another security measure into play.

"We've already closed a canal entrance at Barry Road with a gate, which has slightly helped," said Mike Frederick, president of the Twelve Oaks Special District.

The next meeting of the Twelve Oaks Civic Association is 7 p.m. July 10 in the Parks and Recreation building at Morgan Woods Elementary School, 7001 Armand Drive.

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