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It's demolition day as TV show prepares to replace home

Neighbors are supportive as work crews from Extreme Makeover take over the area.

By CHASE SQUIRES
Published March 8, 2005


SEMINOLE - Day Two at ground zero, a final chance to take measurements and make plans before the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crews launch a five-day blitz that begins today at the home of shooting victim James Dolan.

Makeover construction and production teams took over Dolan's 99th Way N neighborhood north of Bay Pines Boulevard, piling trucks, camera equipment, construction tools, ladders, tents, portable toilets and all manner of cables and coils on lawns and driveways up and down the street.

Craig Gallagher, president of lead builder Lexington Homes, said final plans were readied Monday for the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house crews will wedge onto the Dolans' pie-shaped lot.

Extreme Makeover designers were busy making adjustments to preliminary plans, based on Dolan's special needs and suggestions the family made as they walked through their home for the last time Sunday.

Dolan, 30, was permanently blinded in a Nov. 18 shooting at the St. Petersburg RadioShack where he worked. Extreme Makeover learned of his plight and is rebuilding the home he shares with his wife, Chrissy, and their three children.

Their existing home will come down today beginning at 11 a.m., and everything, even the concrete pad, will come up before construction on the new home can begin Wednesday.

The entire project, including landscaping, is scheduled to wrap up Sunday.

"I'm as confident as can be," Gallagher said Monday as final measurements were made. "I really feel like we've dotted every "I' and crossed every "T."'

Neighbors have been supportive as the hordes invaded, producers said. Along the street, nearly every driveway is either blocked by barriers or packed with construction or television equipment.

Across the street from the Dolans' home, Chris Grad gave up his lawn for a staging area, he even let producers cut down one of his trees to make room for a support tent.

"You need to be a good neighbor to have good neighbors," said Grad, a state Department of Revenue auditor. "I do this for my neighbors. The trees, they'll grow back. What they're doing there is really special."

In front row of the spectators' area, Bob Lee set up lawn chairs with daughter Cathy and son Bobby. Together, they got a glimpse of star Ty Pennington and the show's other personalities.

"It's our favorite show. It's about helping people," Lee said. "After watching each show, I think somebody in our house is crying."

In addition to Lexington Homes and up to 2,000 workers, other companies are piling on support. Sweetbay grocery announced its food contributions Monday, and Gold Bank, with 11 Florida locations, announced the Dolans would be the first beneficiaries of its "Heart of Gold" community donation program. The bank seeded an education fund for the children with $10,000 and vowed to match the first $5,000 in public donations.

To donate, checks made out to "Community Foundation" may be mailed to Gold Bank, attn: Charlie Britton, 601 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, FL 33602. In the memo line, donors may write "Heart of Gold Fund" and the Dolans' name.

--Chase Squires can be reached at 727 893-8739 or squires@sptimes.com

[Last modified March 9, 2005, 10:55:02]


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