By Kyle LoJacono
Tommytown is getting another upgrade less than three months after Pasco County completed an $8.5 million project to improve the impoverished and rundown section of Dade City.
Members of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office and Saint Leo University students pitched in to help restore and reopen the community center in the Dade Oaks Apartments complex, 37460 Acorn Loop just south of Lock Street.
Pasco Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Doll said volunteers from the department, with help from the Pasco Housing Authority, worked on the center in the public housing complex in the morning and afternoon on April 16.
“It’s just community policing and we think it is a very important part of what we do,” Doll said. “We want the kids and residents here to have a safe place to be. There aren’t a lot of places like that in that area.”
Doll added that department volunteers did similar work at the Lacoochee Community Center when it reopened. Saint Leo students helped with a cookout after the work for the reopening ceremony was complete. The event was organized by Pasco Sheriff’s deputy Mary Guyer, who said she is the agency’s “Officer Friendly” in that area.
“Officer Friendlies are officers who work in areas like Tommytown to make kids not afraid of law enforcement officers,” Guyer said. “It’s fun things like the ceremony to open the community center in Dade City that help us reach out to the area’s youth.”
Abigail Lozano, 13, was at the community center a few days after the reopening and said she is thrilled to have a place to go after school.
“A couple of my friends and I have been coming the last few days and it’s great,” Lozano said. “We get to come inside out of the sun and play games. … I’m happy and my parents are too.”
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