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Residents ask: When will work end?

A neighborhood is confused about the purpose of new water lines, claiming lack of notification. The city says to get reclaimed water, roads need to be torn up.

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 16, 2002


A neighborhood is confused about the purpose of new water lines, claiming lack of notification. The city says to get reclaimed water, roads need to be torn up.

The city promised lush lawns. It touted environmental benefits.

It didn't dwell on the ripped-up roads.

But before reclaimed water can flow to South Tampa, some neighborhoods will have to endure temporary inconveniences.

Carver City residents found out first. And some are grumbling.

"If this was an upper-class neighborhood, this would already be paved," said Don Daniels, whose mother lives on Main Street, one of the affected roads.

Construction of the main transmission line for the $28-million plan began in late May, near Manhattan Avenue and Boy Scout Boulevard. The work entails tearing out roads such as Main Street so pipe can be laid beneath them.

City project manager Eric Weiss said life in Carver City will return to normal in a month. The pipeline should be down to Cypress Avenue in a week, with the streets repaved two weeks after that.

Then it's on to the next neighborhood.

Work already has begun in Beach Park and Mid Peninsula.

Westshore Palms, Gray Gables and Bon Air are next.

The pipeline will eventually extend from Carver City to the city's wastewater treatment plant at Hooker's Point, near the Port of Tampa. The system is expected to be on line in December 2003.

The pipeline will allow customers to use reclaimed water instead of drinking water to irrigate their lawns.

In Carver City, crews removed sections of road along Manhattan Avenue, Main Street and Hubert Avenue, leading to detours. Now cars must bump over limerock where smooth asphalt used to be.

Several residents said they did not get advance notice.

On Main Street, resident Shaniqua Kitchen, 26, said crews broke the top bar on her driveway gate when they moved it to lay pipe.

On Hubert Avenue, Sherry Willingham, owner of Solomon's Grocery, said when the roads went, so did customers.

She said crews put up detour signs "even when they were working way down there." She pointed in the distance.

City officials said notification letters were sent to Carver City residents before work began. Letters will be sent to other neighborhoods when the pipeline work approaches them.

Minor inconveniences, Weiss said, are unfortunately part of the process. The city tries to minimize disruption.

"We do the best we can," he said.

Some residents said they've had no problems.

"They don't hold up anything," said Willie Shannon, 70, who lives near Hubert Avenue and Green Street.

"It's been all right," said Main Street resident Keith Kelly. "I just thought it'd be paved by now."

Weiss said the contractor is allowed to remove 3,000 feet of road before repaving. To repave more frequently would require more manpower and machinery -- and cost too much, he said.

"You have to weigh the inconvenience versus the cost of the overall project," he said.

Several residents did not know what the pipeline was for.

Some thought it would bring water to a proposed pool at the Loretta Ingraham Playground that borders Hubert Avenue. Some thought it was for the new Extended Stay America hotel being built at Manhattan Avenue and Spruce Street.

One resident said the city was using Carver City as a dumping ground for polluted stormwater from International Plaza.

Contractors are installing two types of lines at once, beginning at different ends of South Tampa.

For the main line, they're starting in Carver City and heading south and east.

For the smaller distribution lines, they're heading north and west.

Work on those lines is underway on Davis Islands. The smaller pipes don't require that streets be torn up.

To see a map of the pipeline route, go to www.tampagov.net.

-- Ron Matus can be reached at 226-3405 or matus@sptimes.com.

Pipeline work schedule

This is the city's approximate schedule for laying the main transmission line for reclaimed water in South Tampa. Two separate crews are doing the work.

NEIGHBORHOOD Start Finish

Crew No. 1

Carver City June 1, 2002 Sept. 9, 2002

Westshore Palms Aug. 23, 2002 Oct. 10, 2002

Beach Park Sept. 7, 2002 Oct. 27, 2002

Tampa Port Authority Oct. 1, 2002 Feb. 17, 2003

Davis Islands Nov. 25, 2002 April 21, 2003

Crew No. 2

Beach Park July 14, 2002 Aug. 16, 2002

Mid Peninsula Aug. 1, 2002 Sept. 1, 2002

Gray Gables/Bon Air Aug. 15, 2002 Sept. 22, 2002

Southern Pines Sept. 22, 2002 Dec. 1, 2002

Courier City Dec. 1, 2002 Dec. 15, 2002

Hyde Park North Dec. 15, 2002 Feb. 28, 2003

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