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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Five questions with Bob Van Sickler, Tampa Palms resident

This week we chat with Bob Van Sickler, retired General Electric executive, longtime Tampa Palms resident and former Tampa Palms Owners Association president.
Q: You moved to Tampa Palms' Asbury village in the early 90s. How does the Tampa Palms of today compare?
Answer: It turned out better than we had hoped. It was a well-planned community with great potential. At the start, our neighbors came together and we solved our early development problems. That sense of accomplishment continues, so now our Owners Association and CDD (Community Development District) have become efficient management teams that continue to maintain the lush character we bought into and improve our common areas as they reduce our costs. But what's really great about our life now are our activities with some of our Asbury neighbors and our many friends that we've met at the Tampa Palms clubs, like our Rotary Club, Country Club and Women's Club.

Q: Any regrets or disappointment about changes in Tampa Palms during your residency?
Answer: I guess our biggest regret is that the road systems outside Tampa Palms weren't completed as originally planned - like the east-west connector, so Bruce B. Downs became more congested than we had expected. Future transportation outlook is disappointing, too; no plans for Bearss or a better alternative to go downtown on I -275, and after all this time ... still no plans for light rail.

Q: Your neighbors, are they, too, transplants who traded wicked winters for Florida humidity?
Answer: Yes, of course some came for the climate, but lots of others are Floridians who chose Tampa Palms because of our convenience to the University and the hospitals. Excellent housing values, friendly neighbors, our parks, clubs and good schools are important factors, too.

Q: Although within the city limits, Tampa Palms is home to a variety of wildlife. What have you encountered during decades of sharing the land with critters?
Answer: We love the wildlife. We're on a conservation lot with some water, so we've got lots of critter company, and we all get along. I think we like the frogs the most. We never realized there were so many different kinds of frogs, all making a different sound after the rain. Between the frogs, the alligator and the crickets at night, and the birds and squirrels in the daytime, we enjoy concerts almost every day.
Q: Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, Tampa Palms' Main Street? Your thoughts?
Answer: I've already mentioned my disappointment with the city and county poor planning. But actually, we haven't been bothered too much - yet. We are fortunate Tampa Palms has beautiful Tampa Palms Boulevard, several secondary roads and lots of bike paths so we can reach most places we want to go with very little contact with Bruce B. Downs.

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