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Hunter's Green expo draws crowd

By DAVID PEDREIRA

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 19, 2000


NEW TAMPA -- It started as a one-day training camp for Hunter's Green residents who wanted to learn a few health and safety tips from the experts.

But after more than 1,000 people showed up at the Sixth Annual Hunter's Green Health and Safety Expo on Saturday, organizers admitted the event had blossomed into much more.

"It's like a big block party," said Carol Poland, a Neighborhood Watch coordinator who organizes the event every year. "The neighbors get a chance to talk to each other while they are learning things."

Hunter's Green puts on the free exposition every year so it can retain its Neighborhood Watch status with the Tampa Police Department.

Sponsored in part by local businesses, hospitals and restaurants, the three-hour event featured TPD officers doing precision motorcycle maneuvers, rappeling out of a helicopter and showing off the department's armored personnel carrier, which was bought as surplus equipment from the U.S. military for $500.

Area hospitals and medical clinics set up booths displaying their services. Residents were offered free cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and stroke tests. They also could listen to lectures about anti-theft devices, home security and safety fencing for swimming pools.

"This is really neat," said Monica Evans, a Cross Creek resident who is a member of the Hunter's Green Country Club. "The kids have had a great time."

Saturday's event was open only to community residents or country club members.

Officer Mark Hopper, a member of TPD's SWAT team, said his department sends personnel to numerous safety programs across the city.

"You need these kind of events so people can talk to their firemen and policemen," Hopper said.


-- David Pedreira can be reached at (813) 226-3463 or pedreira@sptimes.com.

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