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Road as messy as its politics
The street that was supposed to link Pasco and Hillsborough ends at a trashy barrier.
By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 20, 2007
The 60-foot gully that sits at the end of Kennan Street has become a popular hangout for loiterers and is covered by high grass and weeds. It is seen here from the Pasco County side on Mansfield Boulevard, looking towards Hillsborough County's Kinnen Street in New Tampa.
[Mike Pease | Times]
[Mike Pease | Times]
Aerial view of the extension of Kinnan Street that winds for about a mile along the Live Oak and K-Bar ranch borders and feeds towards Pasco County but stops abruptly at Mansfield Boulevard in Meadow Point.
NEW TAMPA - People who live here know the rules. Mow your lawn, treat your crabgrass, pressure-wash your sidewalk. Front porches are clean, entryways inviting, driveways free of oil stains.
But follow Kinnan Street on the outskirts of Live Oak Preserve to where it ends at the Pasco County border, and you'd think you were in a part of the world without fertilizers or edgers.
The lonely Road to Nowhere has apparently never seen a deed restriction manual.
A year after Hillsborough County paved the road that was supposed to connect to Pasco County, this 1-mile stretch of asphalt looks abandoned, and the 60-foot gully that was left behind has become a popular hangout.
Along Kinnan, dry weeds and grass in the median are 3 feet high and spill over the curbs like a waterfall. Weeds choke the sidewalks.
A line of young oak trees are either dead or dying. And at the spot where Pasco officials refuse to bridge their road to Kinnan Street, fearing too much traffic from the New Tampa suburbs, barricades remain, leaving a perfect spot for loiterers.
By the looks of it, there's no mowing, cleaning or maintenance, either.
Instead, there's eating Burger King Whoppers, smoking (Newports) and drinking (Budweiser). Foam plates, near-empty plastic Coke bottles and a dirty white crew sock are strewn among the overgrown brush.
"It's a shame, and I want to know who's responsible," says Tampa City Council member Joseph Caetano. "I don't know who owns it, but something needs to be done."
Turns out, Kinnan Street is the responsibility of Hillsborough County. The weedy patch falls to Pasco County.
Bipkin Parikh, an assistant Pasco County administrator, was unaware of the mess.
"It's behind the barricade; no one can see it anyway," he said. "But I'll have my public works look into that."
Hillsborough County officials said Monday that county commissioners accepted the land on Sept. 6, but the paperwork hadn't made its way down to the county's transportation maintenance department.
Lea Hollar, manager for the county's transportation maintenance department, said it doesn't usually take months for departments to be notified, but "it does happen."
After being told of the overgrowth, Hollar got his hands on the documents and said he would send two tractors out today to mow the brush. Any dead or dying trees are under warranty and will be replaced, he said.
"We'll do a rough cut," Hollar said. "By Christmas, we'll do another followup maintenance and do the edging, and cut it down nice and smooth."
Betsy Hubbard, who has lived in Live Oak for almost a year, said she walks down that path and the site is "pitiful."
"It's too bad all those trees are dead," she said. "It's really a no-man's land."