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Westchase CDD Prepares for Landscaping Bid; Addresses Pedestrian Bridge and Field Use Request

The March 3 Westchase CDD meeting saw supervisors make progress on issues they have discussed in recent months.

In addition to preparing for their upcoming landscaping bid – the largest contract the district has – supervisors addressed golf cart use of the Village Green pedestrian bridge and discussed a resident’s request to use Glencliff Park fields for flag football practice.

CDD Engineer Bob Dvorak began the meeting by telling supervisors that their request for an easement beneath the TECO power lines adjacent to Westchase Elementary School will be considered at a March 12 TECO board meeting. That easement, if granted, would give the district – and potentially residents – access to a CDD owned parcel of land behind the large lake. The district hopes to create a community garden there.

While saying he flagged some signs for replacement, Dvorak stated he also certified that Greens and Harbor Links/The Estates traffic signs complied with current Department of Transportation regulations. The district needed that certification to renew a lapsed traffic law enforcement agreement allowing the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to enforce traffic laws in the two gated neighborhoods.

Dvorak also summarized work intended to repair a collapsed drain pipe behind two Stamford homes and stated Field Supervisor Doug Mays was coordinating with homeowners. Mays stated he had proposed a possible bilge pump for the area as the best solution for ensuring the low area drains.

CDD Attorney Erin McCormick stated that Hillsborough County had granted the district’s request for a zoning change that would permit a community garden in the parcel behind the large lake near Westchase Elementary.

McCormick also stated that Verizon had started installing roughly six small cellular antennae in the Countryway Boulevard right of way. While she was assured that the antenna would not replace the need for a proposed cell tower at Glencliff Park, she stated she would speak with the company chosen to lease the park land and build the tower there to see if Verizon’s installation would affect their interest in moving forward.

District Manager Andy Mendenhall reported that the district received no responses to a published RFQ for a landscape architect for entrance sign designs. Mendenhall stated he would reach out to a couple of landscape architects to determine if they would be interested in submitting their qualifications for potentially bidding the design work.

Field Manager Doug Mays brought three bids to replace 632-feet of a 27-year-old shadowbox fence owned by the district behind Bennington homes. Supervisors unanimously approved the lowest bid for $9,800.

Mays also informed supervisors that staff had completed work repairing the pedestrian bridge between the West Park Village tennis courts and Village Green. Mays stated he was exploring the installation of lighted bollards to prevent maintenance vehicles and golf carts from using the bridge and inquired if the board wished to move forward them. Board supervisors directed him to move forward using his judgment.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte stated that the Greens gate security camera system needed to be replaced and inquired whether supervisors wished to also place security cameras on the pedestrian bridge. She stated that video of recent mail thieves suggested the thieves had accessed Village Green by the pedestrian bridge. Supervisors authorized the purchase of the cameras at a price not to exceed $10,195. That amount will be charged to Greens residents, who alone cover costs associated with their gates, roads and security cameras.

Whyte also stated that OLM, the independent horticultural company that has overseen past landscaping bids and reviews the district’s landscaping company monthly, had submitted a bid for $2,500 to oversee the upcoming bid process for landscaping. Supervisors asked Mendenhall to request a decrease and Mendenhall stated he would like to work with McCormick on the contract language to avoid any confusion over the contract’s scope of work. Supervisors approved moving forward with the OLM contract at a price not to exceed $2,500.

Closing the meeting, supervisors heard from two residents. West Park’s Claire Clements, a developer who had previously and unsuccessfully pitched working with the district to develop the Westchase Golf Course, asked if the district was in negotiation to purchase the course. CDD Supervisor Greg Chesney, the appointed point person for golf course matters, stated there were no current discussions with the owner regarding a purchase.

Harbor Links resident Reggie Gillis addressed the lack of availability of field space at Glencliff Park due to the district’s current exclusive use contract with the Westchase Soccer Association. Stating he was coach of a flag football team, Gillis stated he was unable to use Glencliff Park, despite paying for its upkeep and despite the team largely being Westchase residents. He added the WSA contributes nothing to the district for their use of the fields and has many non-Westchase players on their teams. Gillis asked if the district could make the park available for other teams’ practices a couple of days weekly.

The board pointed out that the current contract covered the upcoming soccer season, with Supervisor Brian Ross stating it would be unfair to seek to change it without adequate warning to the WSA. Both Supervisor Greg Chesney, who has previously expressed support for not granting exclusive use contracts and returning the park to neighborhood park status, and Supervisor Forrest Baumhover expressed willingness to change future use contracts with the WSA to carve out field use for other teams. Chesney added that the land behind the large lake might also be developed into additional fields, although Attorney McCormick cautioned that such use would have to first receive county zoning approval.

During board requests, Supervisor Brian Ross asked that the district’s upcoming draft budget incorporate a line for costs and expenses associated with developing the parcel behind the large lake into a community garden and/or field space.

Asked by Supervisor Baumhover about the status of nanobubblers in the large lake between Sturbridge, Stonebridge and the townhome complex that has recently complained about midge flies, Mays stated that two nanobubblers were currently operating and that the lake’s algae bloom had largely disappeared. He added the number of midge flies appears to have declined.

Supervisors closed by authorizing Supervisor Greg Chesney to contact three locally owned banks—Pilot, Citrus and Flagship—to explore transferring the district’s accounts to them.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:39 p.m.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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