A new fire station is coming to New Tampa

Residents of New Tampa will get a new fire station in 2017, amid a boom in development and population growth.

Other proposed capital improvement projects include upgrading playground equipment at New Tampa Recreation Center and installing CCTV cameras along Cross Creek Boulevard to help regulate traffic signals and ease congestion.

“The growth here has been tremendous,” said Tampa City Councilwoman Lisa Montelione. “Having the fire station will bring comfort to a lot of people that they will have a rescue unit nearby.”

The city paid about $1.3 million in 2008 for 2.2 acres of land at County Line Road and Trout Creek Drive anticipating construction on Fire Station No. 23.

But, budget cutbacks during the recession delayed several construction projects citywide.

The station, at 20777 Trout Creek Drive, will cost about $4.7 million. A construction schedule is not yet available.

Another proposed fire station for New Tampa isn’t included in the 2017 budget, but does have design funds for 2019.

Fire Station No. 24 in the K-Bar Ranch area, off Morris Bridge Road, will be built “as growth continues to occur,” according to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who presented a nearly $906 million budget to the Tampa City Council in July.

Council members approved the budget on Sept. 21. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

About 2 acres within a proposed 54-acre park in the K-Bar Ranch development are planned for Fire Station No. 24.

Montelione worked with M/I Homes, and Hillsborough County’s parks and recreation department, to secure the land.

A mix-up between Pasco and Hillsborough County dispatchers about a 911 call in 2015 drew attention to the need for a station serving New Tampa’s K-Bar Ranch area.

Hillsborough will develop the park, while the City of Tampa will build the fire station, Montelione said.

Upgrades to playground equipment at New Tampa’s recreation complex also won approval in the final budget. However, area residents still are waiting for an expansion of the existing gymnasium, which has earned a reputation for its high quality, competitive gymnastics program.

At least twice in the past five years, funds were withheld, including last year. “I was very upset,” said Montelione.

Instead, the budget re-routed capital improvement dollars to other projects, such as the recently completed restoration of the historical Cuscaden swimming pool in V.M. Ybor.

Another disappointment this year was lack of funding for New Tampa Nature Park, off Donna Michelle Parkway. More than five years ago, the park’s design included water fountains, restrooms and shaded hospitality areas.

“There’s no funds to service this park,” said Montelione during a public hearing on the budget. “It’s not even on anybody’s radar.”

Montelione lobbied for the park, as well as additional funds overall for Tampa Fire Rescue for equipment and training.

Published September 28, 2016

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