City clears way to build roundabout on revamped 22nd Street
EAST TAMPA - Finally, a house standing in the way of a future roundabout on 22nd Street will be bought and torn down. The circular intersection is expected to be built in 2013 in the last phase of an approximately $7.5 million redesign of the roadway. In a 4-3 vote, Tampa City Council members have approved paying $65,000 plus $3,000 closing costs for the house at 3020 N. 22nd St. The cost will be shared — with revenues from the East Tampa special tax district paying the property's appraised value of $28,000, and the city the remainder. The roundabout and the cost of the house had divided East Tampa residents as well as council members in recent months.Council members Harry Cohen, Lisa Montelione and Mary Mulhern voted against buying the house. They repeatedly questioned the wisdom of paying more than double the city's appraised property value. "I just want to be a good steward of every penny of this (city) budget," Montelione said. Councilwoman Yvonne Capin voted in favor of the purchase, saying she worried about the city having to rely later on eminent domain proceedings to take the house. Area residents have been just as divided about the house's cost and the need for the single-lane roundabout. The traffic device will be built at the intersection of 21st Avenue and 22nd Street, south of Belmont Heights Estates. At two community meetings, the roundabout narrowly was rejected. But there was some support for building the roundabout, if no more than $28,000 of the house's sales price was paid with local property tax revenues. East Tampa is a special tax district bordered by Hillsborough Avenue, interstates 275 and 4 and the city's limits. A portion of tax revenue collected within the district must be spent on community projects such as the 22nd Street redesign and construction. The redesign, including the roundabout, was approved by a prior council in 2008 after community meetings at which area residents identified 22nd Street improvements as a priority. City officials say the project is fully funded. "All we've got to do is say yes or no (to buying the house) and move on," said Councilman Frank Reddick, who represents the district where the project is located.
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