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Improvements planned for Lee Davis Center

Published: May 16, 2013
Hillsborough County will spend about $1.5 million renovating and expanding the Lee Davis Neighborhood Service Center, enabling it to accommodate more programs – including Head Start.Lee Davis will remain open during construction, which is expected to begin by the end of the year and be completed by December 2014.People discussed the project Tuesday at a public meeting at the center at 3402 N. 22nd St.“It has not kept up with its time,” said Noe Valle, project manager with the county’s facilities management services.The facility is about 25 years old and never has had a major renovation.The closing of an urgent-care clinic at the site more than two years ago opened additional space and prompted a review of the center’s services. Tampa Family Health Center, which had operated the urgent-care clinic, built a 15,000-square-foot health care center at the corner of Osborne Avenue and 22nd Street.Nonprofit groups continue to operate at Lee Davis: Computer Mentors, Derrick Brooks Charities, Danny Glover Foundation, Office of Health Equity and Sunshine Line.There are plans to recruit more nonprofit entities to increase the number and types of available services. “We’re looking at a way to really add value to the community,” said Sam Walthour, the county’s social services director. “The community involvement is going to be critical.”The county supports a range of services at the center including a summer youth employment program, a homeless youth initiative, health fairs, financial education workshops, free tax filing assistance and job skills training.The Head Start program, which will be new to the center, will have two classrooms in about 750 square feet on the first floor. A playground is planned behind the center.Most of the construction will involve interior renovations and reshuffling locations for some groups. On the outside, the building will get a metal roof, columns and a canopy at the center’s entrance.The center sits next to the Belmont Heights Estates, which replaced the aging College Hill and Ponce de Leon public housing complexes with modern, mixed-income apartments and town homes.In addition, the city is completing a redesign of 22nd Street that includes new pavement, bicycle lanes and landscaped medians.In sprucing up Lee Davis’s look, Valle said, “We want to bring a little sense of what’s happening in the community all around.”