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Notebook

By TIM GRANT, LOGAN D. MABE and BILL COATS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 24, 2001


Plantation will vote again on boys, girls club

CARROLLWOOD -- A second vote on whether to let the Boys & Girls Club build a permanent facility in the Plantation of Carrollwood will be held Thursday.

Homeowners will decide whether to allow the non-profit organization to build a club for children and then lease it from Plantation. The agreement would be binding for 30 years.

A vote in November passed by a wide margin but was declared invalid. An attorney determined that proxies from a handful of residents had been improperly cast.

Some homeowners strongly oppose the arrangement because sometimes they cannot use the swimming pool and recreational facility while the children are using them. Opponents also cite possible liability and safety concerns of having the program in their community.

Many Plantation residents whose children attend the Boys & Girls Club say they depend on the affordable after-school program to help juggle job and parenting responsibilities on tight budgets.

The Boys & Girls Club has operated in Plantation for three years, and its facilities now consist of one large portable building.

Club officers say they need a permanent building suitable for future use as a licensed child care center, which means they'll need to increase the floor space from 4,000 to 6,000 square feet to include indoor play space and restrooms for up to 105 children.

Westchase center vote ends Friday

WESTCHASE -- Voting on the Westchase community center ends Friday, and organizers will be canvassing homeowners door to door until the deadline.

About 15 to 20 pollsters have been working the neighborhoods of the development since mid April. Approval for the $2.5-million community center will require a "yes" vote from 67 percent of the roughly 3,200 homeowners in Westchase.

"We're hoping that we might have more than the 67 percent response rate required, but I guess it is somewhat in doubt," said Lisa McCallister-Grant, chairwoman of the community center committee. "It's been interesting. It's the first time Westchase has done a vote of this kind, so we'll learn a lot from the process."

Once all the votes are in, they'll be counted July 7 with the help of an accounting firm that will oversee the tally.

For more information on the center, or to find out about voting, visit www.westchaseworld.org or call McCallister-Grant at 854-2124.

Six shoot for guv'na title

LUTZ -- The guv'na competition has shrunk to six candidates, still the biggest field ever. William Nehls, who had entered the fundraising race for each of the last three years, withdrew from the current competition because he and his wife are moving to New Port Richey, organizers said.

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