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Neighborhood Notebook

State turns down request for Bruce B. Downs boost

By JOHN BALZ, LOGAN MABE and JACKIE RIPLEY
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 23, 2003

Hillsborough County officials had hoped for a $10-million to $15-million boost from the state for the widening of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

They were turned down.

Officials still have about $40-million in funds already set aside for the project. Tom Thomson, transportation director in the county's planning department, said the county should be able to go ahead with the widening on schedule.

"We can probably solve most of the (traffic) problems with the money we have," he said.

The first phase of widening Bruce B. Downs Boulevard would occur where traffic totals are the heaviest; between Interstate 75 and Cross Creek Boulevard. The road would be converted from four-lanes to as many as eight-lanes.

Senior center plan meets with residents' resistance

TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- Hillsborough County will host a public meeting Thursday to discuss the Town 'N Country Community Plan. At issue will be the proposed town center at Ambassador and Paula drives.

The town center idea has been controversial because some residents fear a senior center proposed for the town center will consume too much park area.

"I'm not against the senior center," said Mark Fogarty, president of the Town 'N Country Park Civic Association. "I just don't think that spot is the best location."

Westgate Library, scheduled for expansion in 2004; an adjoining playground, basketball courts, soccer field and picnic areas now occupy the site. If the plan is approved, buildings would occupy much of the open space.

Those opposed to building a senior center at that location say it would increase traffic and its closed and fenced facade during weekends is not what they had in mind for their town center. County staff and engineers will be at the meeting to discuss the project and answer questions from residents.

The meeting, to take place at Webb Middle School Cafeteria, 6035 Hanley Road, starts at 6:30 p.m.

YMCA to show off progress at Tuesday event

TOWN 'N COUNTRY -- The public

is invited to meet the staff and hear about plans for the upcoming Northwest Hillsborough County YMCA on Tuesday, 6:30-8 p.m. at A La Carte Event Pavilion, 4050 Dana Shores Drive. The new Y's volunteer advisory board and staff are hosting the event to share plans for the new facility, introduce the staff and tell the Y Story.

"The bottom is in the swimming pool and things are moving right along," said Leonard Speed, branch manager of the new Y.

The Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA on Waters Avenue, set to open in the Spring, will feature a rock climbing wall, state- of-the-art fitness equipment, indoor gymnasium, family fun pool, group fitness studio, playground and more.

The YMCA also will offer daytime summer programs including swimming lessons, teen activities, group fitness, youth sports and adult sports.

For more information, call (813) 792-7838.

Education Summit scheduled at Gaither High

NORTHDALE -- Education will take center stage Wednesday when county and state leaders gather for an Education Summit at Gaither High School.

State Rep. Kevin Ambler, state Sen. Victor Crist, Florida Department of Education policy consultant Don Greisheimer and Hillsborough County School District superintendent Earl Lennard will discuss issues affecting students in grades K-12.

Fox 13 anchorwoman Kathy Fountain will moderate the summit, which will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the auditorium at Gaither High School, 16200 N Dale Mabry Highway.

-- JOHN BALZ, LOGAN MABE, JACKIE RIPLEY

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