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With pond and eight fountains, land near I-4 won't go to waste

By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published July 13, 2007


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The land between 21st and 22nd streets, just off the first Interstate 4 exit, is bigger than a football field.

One day, it could hold tracks for a city railway or extra interstate lanes, but the Florida Department of Transportation says it won't have the millions needed to build any of that for a long while.

So what to do with the huge chunk of empty property?

Build a $1.3-million fountain pond at the gateway of the Ybor historic district.

Transportation spokeswoman Kris Carson said the fountain cost less than 1 percent of the total $167-million Interstate 4 widening project. She explained her department's decision to pay to fill the space with water instead:

"Left empty, it would become a trash-collecting open space," she said. "There was concern that if it was planted and left open, it would attract homeless. Parking was considered, but it was not safe to access the area with all of the traffic."

The almost-completed pond will be 261-feet by 110-feet wide, 18 inches deep and will hold 320,000 gallons of water. It'll feature eight fountains and will be tiered for a waterfall effect. The fountains will run continuously, Carson said.

City Council member Linda Saul-Sena called the fountain "a win-win" for being both functional and visual.

"It shows respect to the historic neighborhood," she said.

[Last modified July 12, 2007, 08:47:43]


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