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Tampa buying land for a park

The city closes a $744,500 deal for a tract along the east side of the Hillsborough River.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000

TAMPA -- The city has continued its quest to acquire as much land along the Hillsborough River as possible by closing on a deal to buy just under five acres near Martin Luther King Boulevard.

The land was owned by retired Tampa surgeon Bill Reed, who sold it to the city for $744,500. It will be used as park land.

Friday's closing ended a frustrating, protracted negotiation between the city and Reed, who first put the land up for sale four years ago.

Bob Schweiger, an agent with Clearwater-based Arvida Realty Services, which represented Reed, said the negotiations were complicated by disagreements in price and by tedious administrative rules.

"The bureaucratic wheels turn slowly," Schweiger said.

Ross Ferlita, director of the city's Parks Department, said the end result will be more than worth it.

The land, purchased with money from Hillsborough County's Environmental Lands Acquisition and Protection Program, is on the east side of the river just north of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Tampa will restore the tract by improving the flow of a creek that runs through it, stabilizing the shoreline with plants and replanting natural trees and plants. The city then will be responsible for maintaining the land, Ferlita said, adding that the cost of that maintenance has not been determined.

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