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Neighborhood notebook

By MICHAEL SANDLER, SUSAN THURSTON and CHASE SQUIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001


Planning group to offer transportation meetings

Poised to begin shaping the long-term transportation projects for Hillsborough County, the Metropolitan Planning Organization is taking its plan to the people.

Planners for the MPO will meet with residents in New Tampa on Tuesday, one of approximately 40 presentations scheduled through the county.

The presentation, which will be held at the New Tampa Library at 7 p.m., will include a visual preference survey of those in attendance. Planners will show a series of photographs to residents, some actual photos of existing places, some altered computer projections of what the area may look like by the year 2025.

Residents will be asked to rate each photograph. The survey takes about 20 to 25 minutes.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion about specific transportation issues in New Tampa.

"Usually we find the pictures spark some discussion," said Beth Malaby, a senior planner with the MPO.

Seafood restaurant opening in New Tampa

TAMPA PALMS -- A seafood restaurant affiliated with Crabby Bill's is opening in the former Goodfellas in the Palm Lake shopping center along Amberly Drive in New Tampa.

Kalyn Brandewie, the center's leasing agent, said Friday the company signed a long-term lease. The company plans to completely renovate the interior, she said. No opening date has been set.

The restaurant will be an upscale version of Crabby Bill's, similar to the Central Avenue Oyster Bar in St. Petersburg, she said. It may be called the New Tampa Oyster Bar. The space has been vacant for several months.

Firm recommends more libraries in Pasco

WESLEY CHAPEL -- A consulting firm has recommended that Pasco County build four new public libraries, including two near State Road 54.

Recommended projects include an $11.5-million, 60,000-square-foot Trinity library along Little Road near SR 54; and a $3.8-million, 15,000-square-foot library near SR 54 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, an area now served by Hillsborough's New Tampa Regional Library.

The findings, from the Beach/Willey consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, are expected to be presented to county commissioners later this spring, and are not binding. The firm also called for a $2.3-million expansion of the Land O'Lakes library.

Consultants say Pasco, which created its countywide library system in 1980, spends $14.37 a year per resident on library services, less than any other urban or suburban county in Florida except for Seminole County. New money could come from state and federal grants and private and corporate donations, general property taxes, special taxing districts, an impact fee, or a special sales tax or bonds.

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