For some answers, be prepared to wait

By SHARON TUBBS City Times Editor
Published May 4, 2007

When I was a little girl in Indiana, I would ask my parents for a new Barbie or an Easy-Bake Oven or a trip to McDonald's for a beloved Happy Meal.

The Tubbses have been together more than 40 years now, but looking back, I see they had commitment issues when it came to certain things. Their immediate answer to me was seldom a "yes" and not always a "no, " but more often the bland and unconvincing, "We'll see."

And so I'd wait.

Now I can buy my own Happy Meal without anyone's permission, although I have graduated to the all-white chicken dinner at Boston Market. (Yes, I'm aware of all the butter and calories this entails, but it's still better than McDonald's, so at least give me that.)

But there are some questions we still must wait for others to answer. And someday, just like Mom and Dad, they might actually do it.

For instance, if you live on Granada Street, you may be part of a monthslong effort to get an answer about an upcoming stormwater project.

When City Times talked to people on Granada in March, they wanted to know if the project included tearing up their street and possibly removing trees.

They e-mailed City Hall numerous times and demanded answers at a council meeting. City staff had said that the project's route was undecided. But the people on Granada didn't buy it. They wanted a yes or a no.

When I talked this week with homeowner Eric Rahenkamp, who has been leading the effort, they were still waiting.

If you're a history buff, you may be wondering if the historic Meacham school we wrote about almost two months ago will be demolished to make room for new development and a neighborhood school in Central Park Village.

Reporter Elisabeth Dyer has been checking. Last we heard, officialdom was waiting to find out the details of salvaging useful materials in the school and where a historic marker could be placed to commemorate it.

So will it be demolished?

Well, it's not official yet, so ... we'll see.

And if you are like Patricia Nellis, you want to know the fate of the city's 28-court tennis complex at the Hillsborough Community College Dale Mabry campus.

Rumors have percolated among Nellis and other avid tennis players, reaching high pitch in recent months. Word is the complex, which some area tennis leagues consider home court, is a goner.

Nellis mailed a letter to Mayor Pam Iorio, but hadn't heard back when I talked to her early this week.

She sounded nervous. It was clear that the courts were more important to her than a young girl's Easy-Bake on Christmas Day.

The 52-year-old started playing tennis when she was in her 20s. Today, she plays about three times a week, even during Florida's scorching summers.

Fees to play vary, but Nellis, who lives in Town 'N Country, pays about $5. She can afford that on her secretary's salary, but not the much steeper cost of joining a country club with a tennis complex.

I wanted to get an answer for her and the other wannabe Navratilovas out there.

So I called parks and recreation spokeswoman Linda Carlo. She explained that the city built the courts almost 20 years ago on HCC property with the agreement that the city would operate and maintain the courts. The agreement expires in March 2008, and administrators on both sides are still deciding what happens next.

One issue is that the looks of HCC's campus may be changing, Carlo said. "We hope to keep them, " she said, "but HCC has plans for expansion."

She suggested I call someone at HCC.

I already had. I talked with John Huerta, executive director of marketing and public relations.

The college is conducting a five-year master plan, looking at its future programs, enrollment and growth, he said. How the tennis courts fit in remains to be seen. HCC is being "open and honest, " he said. "So we can plan that together" with the city.

As far as he could tell, "there's no discussion about terminating the lease, " Huerta said.

But he couldn't say for sure, since everyone is still negotiating.

The bottom line is, well, you know...

We'll see.