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Neighborhood Report

Neighborhood Notebook

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 10, 2003

With pool heater fixed, water again 'delightful'

FAIR OAKS/MANHATTAN MANOR -- The pool heater is back at the Jim Walter Interbay Boys and Girls Club on S Coolidge Avenue.

Senior citizens who use the pool for their aerobics classes returned to the water last week.

"Delightful" is how instructor Thelma Donovan, 90, described the 82-degree water.

The seniors stopped going to the club a few months ago after the pool's heater broke. The club promised to replace the unit but needed to find donations and volunteers to get it installed.

The club opens the pool to the community as part of a deal with Tampa's Recreation Department, which provides classes and lifeguards. Neither, however, has money for major repairs.

Fitness center to replace vacant department store

HYDE PARK -- Lifestyle Family Fitness is moving into the former Jacobson's department store in Old Hyde Park.

The 28,000-square-foot gym will open late this year after renovations. The center will occupy the east side of Jacobson's, leaving about 40 percent of the space for other tenants, Lifestyle Family Fitness president Geoff Dyer said.

The club signed a 10-year lease, with options to extend. It chose the village based on proximity to homes and businesses, Dyer said.

Jacobson's vacated the space in March. The gym began negotiations with the village months ago but needed the proper zoning to complete the deal.

Village officials have not announced other tenants planned for the space.

During gym construction, customers can buy discounted memberships at a sales center across the street at 1507 Swann Ave.

Harmful bacteria closes two Tampa beaches

WEST SHORE -- Good thing it's not swimming weather.

For the third time since August, health officials have posted signs at Cypress Point and Ben T. Davis Beach, warning bathers about potentially harmful bacteria.

The signs at Cypress Point went up Jan. 2, four days after authorities posted Ben T. Davis.

The bacteria, linked to human and animal waste, is often washed in by stormwater runoff. If ingested, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Neither Cypress Point nor Ben T. Davis had been posted before August, when health officials began testing the area once a week instead of every other week. The new testing regimen also includes a tighter standard for determining how much bacteria is too much.

The advisory will be lifted once new samples show bacteria levels have dropped. The signs typically stay up four or five days.

Outdoor work projects will mark King Day

TAMPA -- The city is looking for 300 volunteers to work on greening projects on the Jan. 20 Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including several in South Tampa.

Officials with the Mayor's Beautification Program say the work will commemorate the community service legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Among the projects: removing invasive plants at Cypress Point and Picnic Island parks and measuring grand trees at Gadsden Park.

Work is from 8 a.m. to noon. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation. Gloves, tools and refreshments will be provided.

To register in advance , call Raina O'Neil at 221-8733 or e-mail her at

Candidates to meet public at Plant High

PALMA CEIA -- South Tampa residents will get a chance to grill mayoral candidates at a public forum on Wednesday.

The forum, sponsored by several South Tampa neighborhoods, begins at 7 p.m. in the Plant High School auditorium. A meet-and-greet with the candidates begins at 6:30 p.m.

All qualified candidates are eligible to participate, said Sue Lyon, president of Tampa Homeowners, an Association of Neighborhoods. Qualifying begins at noon Monday, and ends at noon Friday.

University of South Florida political science professor Susan McManus will moderate.

Garden club celebrates 75th anniversary

BAYSHORE GARDENS -- The public is invited to attend Sunday when the Tampa Federation of Garden Club Circles celebrates its 75th anniversary.

"In the beginning, 11 women went out and founded 11 circles," said Kathy Echevarria, the group's president.

Now the federation boasts 21 circle and 566 members. It focuses on gardening, beautification, environmental preservation and educating the public about plant-related issues.

Two new circles will be added this year: one that meets in the evenings and another that concentrates on cactuses and other succulent plants.

The celebration runs from 4-7 p.m. at the Tampa Garden Center, 2629 Bayshore Blvd. For more information, call event leader Osie Rodriguez at 251-5059.

Ballast Point lobbies for a lower speed limit

BALLAST POINT -- Citing safety concerns, the Ballast Point Neighborhood Association wants the city to lower the speed limit on MacDill Avenue south of Gandy Boulevard.

The association wants the limit dropped from 40 mph to 35 mph or less, according to a Jan. 6 letter from its president, Gene Wells, to city transportation manager Elton Smith.

An explosion of new townhomes along MacDill south of Gandy, coupled with sidewalks close to the road, has made the stretch more dangerous for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists, Wells said.

A lower limit "will not eliminate all the pedestrian hazards along MacDill, but is a step in the right direction," Wells said.

The speed limit is 35 mph from Gandy to Kennedy Boulevard, he noted.

Smith could not be immediately reached for comment.

Appraisal event to raise money for Plant Museum

UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA -- Curious about the value of a family heirloom? Then bring it to the Music Room in Plant Hall at the University of Tampa on Jan. 18.

Local appraisers will evaluate your favorite treasures and answer questions for $5 an item, which goes to the restoration and renovation of the Henry B. Plant Museum.

Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis between 10 a.m. and noon. If furniture is too large, bring a good photograph.

Doors open at 10 a.m., and appraisers begin at 10:30 a.m. Parking is available in the faculty and staff parking lot on the west side of Plant Hall.

For information, call (813) 254-1891.

City Times: The rest of the stories

  • Grand Central: Too soon old, too late wise
  • Lengthening the line
  • My town: A warm reception
  • Amy Scherzer's Diary: Partaking of parties
  • City People: He's all smiles
  • Obituary: Five decades filled with dedication, doctoring
  • What's in a name?: Uniting Tampa's longshoremen
  • RSVP Tampa: Rolling with the punch lines
  • Everybody's business: Eating out gets easier
  • Neighborhood Report: Workshop focuses on adolescent girls
  • Produce stand is moving in
  • From ex-hospital to apartments for elderly
  • Help on way for tricky intersection
  • Weaving memories, mending hearts
  • Neighborhood Notebook
  • Homes: Front porch: Living on memories of home
  • Landmark gets new lease on life
  • To combat allergens, clean means dust, filter and purify
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