May 20, 2006
Anyone with any sense at all knows the pace of development in Tampa cannot continue at the incredible pace we are seeing. And it’s not only Tampa. Those who haven’t been out in the south part of the County should take a trip out toward Ruskin – every citrus grove there is being transformed into a subdivision.
The School Board has built four new high schools in South County in the past few years (four new high schools!!). Actually the School Board has built over 30 new schools in less than a decade. Most are overcrowded. Unimaginable. There’s only so much development that we can absorb. So we can expect those responsible for this whole building boom to realize their excess and slam on the brakes soon. Right?
I am participating in a traffic study for areas south of Gandy. The City has commissioned the study because of concerns regarding the rapid development of the area. And for good reason. I won’t go into the details (for they’re too boring for me to remember) but the overall message we are receiving is that there is no reason to expect the pace of development in our area to slow. We have the potential to absorb a LOT of development over the next decade.
The most serious infrastructure problem in all of this is, of course, transportation. The Gandy corridor will see significantly more traffic. The City is to be commended for studying the situation. But even the most well- intentioned realize that there is little that can be done to slow with the growth in traffic. The tools are not in place to do that. We can only deal with how best to accommodate it.
Development then becomes a given, and the question then becomes:
What sort of development and what quality of development?
This does not have to be high-density housing. Nor does it have to be the sort of mediocrity that is infesting our neighborhoods now. The QUALITY of development remains the key question.
Your Neighborhood Association remains your most effective advocate for improving the quality of development in Ballast Point. We are encouraging the City to use its imagination in looking at better possibilities, not just the over-used plans that have been re-hashed dozens of times. We have seen enough success to suggest that the message is slowly being heard. But we have to keep up the pressure. We need your help. Please help us by becoming effectively involved. We need your ideas and your voice. The City is beginning to listen.
Step one: See you at our next Neighborhood Association meeting.
Thanks for your help.
Jerry Miller, President