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Neighborhood Notebook

Easy on gas pedal on Macdill Avenue

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 24, 2003

BALLAST POINT -- Motorists, consider this fair warning: The city is about to lower the speed limit on MacDill Avenue south of Gandy Boulevard.

In response to neighborhood concerns, Tampa transportation officials agreed last week to reduce the limits from 40 mph to 35 mph.

Residents say MacDill has gotten more dangerous for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists as new developments have cropped up. The new limits will make MacDill consistent from Interbay Boulevard to Kennedy Boulevard.

It's not clear exactly when the signs will be changed.

Greco to discuss planned golf facility

PORT TAMPA -- Mayor Dick Greco will take a few swings Tuesday at neighbors' questions about a proposed golf course.

Greco supports plans to allow private developers to convert the old Manhattan Landfill into a driving range, a 9-hole par-3 course or both. At least three developers have expressed interest.

But some Port Tampa residents are concerned that city officials floated the idea without their input. Others want to make sure a golf facility doesn't interfere with city plans to build recreational trails in the area.

Greco will answer questions during the Port Tampa Civic Association meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Port Tampa recreation center, 4700 Lancaster St.

Disabled children may get new place to play

MACFARLANE PARK -- The City Council is backing plans for a playground designed for children with disabilities.

The council voted unanimously Jan. 16 to support a plan being pushed by New Suburb Beautiful resident Stefani Busansky, whose daughter Sarah uses a wheelchair. The playground, pegged for MacFarlane Park on MacDill Avenue, would include wheelchair-accessible ramps, cushioned flooring and play stations for blind children.

Since last spring, Busansky and a committee of volunteers have raised more than $30,000 toward the $300,000 they need. The city parks department has pledged another $80,000.

"I think what you started hit the heart of this community," Council Chairman Charlie Miranda told Busansky.

Busansky is planning a "think-outside-the-sandbox" meeting in March to get input on the design.

Students lend hands to teddy bear program

FAIR OAKS/MANHATTAN MANOR -- Students at St. Patrick Catholic School are again rounding up teddy bears for the second annual St. Pat's Kids Care with Bears Drive.

The bears will be donated to the sheriff's teddy bear program, so deputies can distribute them to kids traumatized by fires, car wrecks or other disasters.

Led by eighth-grader Samantha Wells, last year's effort yielded 280 bears. This year, Wells is aiming for 300.

The bears will be presented Wednesday at St. Patrick Catholic Church.

Bears can be brought to the school office, 4518 S Manhattan Ave., from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekdays. For information, call Linda Wells at 232-2672, ext. 103, or by cellular phone at 453-8292, or send an e-mail to Lindawells@copaparts.com.

School club to make pitch for skate park

CULBREATH HEIGHTS -- A grassroots effort to get a skate park in South Tampa continues to roll.

The skate club at Coleman Middle School will make a presentation to potential donors at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday in the school's orchestra room.

Among those invited: officials with Outback Steakhouse and the local McDonald's franchisee, and strip club owner Joe Redner. Mayor Dick Greco is also expected.

"We're in fast gear now," said Bryan Perry, the club's adviser and Coleman's school resource officer.

The club says a skate park is needed in South Tampa because other facilities are too far away. It's striving to raise $120,000. Eight club members will make presentations and breakfast will be served. The public is invited.

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