TEMPLE TERRACE — Perseverance plus a bit of political clout have cleared the way for a major improvement in Telecom Park, one of the Tampa Bay area’s premier business communities.
On July 15, the Temple Terrace City Council approved a $1.2 million project to expand East Telecom Parkway in the southern section of the complex to 127th Avenue, where it will connect with Morris Bridge Road, about one-half mile north of East Fowler Avenue just west of Interstate 75.
It is intended to improve the traffic flow in and out of the business park and reduce response time in the East Fowler Avenue area by emergency services specialists based at Temple Terrace’s No. 2 Fire Station in Telecom Park.
Currently, the only ingress/egress roadways in the complex are at East Fletcher Avenue and Morris Bridge Road at the northern end of the site.
The project, which is expected to begin in a few weeks and be completed by next summer, will be at no cost to the city of Temple Terrace.
It will be fully funded by a $750,000 Hillsborough County Community Investment Tax grant and a $600,000 state transportation grant Gov. Rick Scott approved in May.
“It’s a big day for us, one we’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” said Temple Terrace City Manager Gerald Seeber, following the council’s unanimous vote in favor of moving the project forward.
Mayor Frank Chillura, who presented grant proposals to both the county commission and the state legislative board, said extension efforts have been in the works for a few years.
The major challenge, he said, was getting money from the state when cuts in the budget are commonplace.
Chillura mainly credits State Attorney General Pam Bondi, a Temple Terrace native, and Sen. Tom Lee, the bill’s sponsor, for getting it passed.
He also likes to think his brief conversation with Scott during the governor’s May appearance at Busch Gardens may have helped seal the deal.
“I told him that Pam’s hometown is Temple Terrace and that I used to mow the Bondis’ lawn,” Chillura said. “I say that because Pam Bondi played a vital role in getting this passed.”
Telecom Parkway’s extension is significant, he said, because Morris Bridge Road and Fletcher Avenue are two of the city’s main gateways to the University of South Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center and Florida Hospital Tampa.
“This type of improvement is very, very important to us, in that it is a big selling point for companies looking to build or relocate their businesses,” the mayor said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]