Pasco education center considers moving
DADE CITY - An increase in rail traffic near Moore-Mickens Education Center could cause the Pasco County school district to move the center's adult education and other programs elsewhere. The CSX Corp. rail lines cross Martin Luther King Boulevard near the entrance of the education center, and the Pasco County school district is concerned about safety issues and noise as the number of trains passing by daily picks up, Assistant Superintendent Ray Gadd said. Moore-Mickens provides adult education programs, along with a Cyesis program for pregnant teenagers and an early childhood education program for child-care workers. Some of the center's services, such as a GED program and technical education offerings, could end up at Irvin Education Center, an alternative school in Dade City. Other programs might be scattered among other locations, Gadd said."None of that is definitive," he said. "We need to get out there and talk to the community." Moore-Mickens Education Center is a landmark in Dade City's African-American community. The school traces its roots to Moore Elementary and Mickens High, all-black schools in the decades before integration. Gadd said the district is trying to go slow with any plans. Government officials in Dade City also are preparing for the added trains. CSX has told the city that rail traffic will be increasing as the economy improves, City Manager Billy Poe said. Right now, he said, about four to seven trains pass through each day, but CSX has said that could climb to as many as 24. "A lot of it is based on the economy," Poe said. The city has had talks with the CSX about establishing "quiet zones," meaning the trains would not blow their horns as they went through intersections. The rail lines cross several other roads in Dade City. The city has had discussions with CSX and the Florida Department of Transportation about ways to deal with traffic that backs up when a train comes through, Poe said. He also said that significant improvements are needed at each of the railroad crossings, and that could cost the city $200,000 or more at each crossing.
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