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Riverfront Preserve Access Road Project Moves Forward

The City Council learned Tuesday evening that the permit application for an access road off 78th Street to Riverfront Preserve has been submitted to the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

An unpaved access road planned for Riverfront Preserve is closer to being built off 78th Street, Temple Terrace Public Works Director Bob Gordon told the .

Construction could start in the spring, depending on permit approvals and construction bids.

Riverfront Preserve is a piece of land located along the Hillsborough River. It is north of Bullard Parkway and borders Florida College on the west and south and 78th Street on the east.

The city is required to open the preserve to the public and provide the access road as part of a 1994 Florida Communities Trust agreement.

In addition to the access road, the plan calls for parking for eight to 10 cars at the north end of 78th Street adjacent to the River Run and Rolling Terrace subdivisions; a boardwalk; footpaths; and informational signs. A pavilion on the property was built by architectural students from the  in 2008.

Initially, the project received criticism from River Run and Rolling Terrace residents, who said an access road off 78th Street would hurt wildlife habitat and foliage, and could increase crime and speeding vehicles in their subdivisions. They suggested building the access road at a different location along Bullard Parkway or on land owned by .

But the council approved the 78th Street location in May, saying it made the most sense as it provided the easiest access and was the least expensive option.

The city didn’t ignore resident concerns, however.

“The commitment that we made with the city manager (Kim Leinbach) was that before we actually went into the design phase, we’d allow the citizens to take a look at the staking,” Gordon said, adding residents are comfortable with the alignment the city has made.

City staff worked on the design over the summer, and submitted the design and permit application to the Southwest Florida Water Management District on Nov. 10.

“We’d be looking at probably a construction award for that roadway sometime probably the second (City Council) meeting in March,” Gordon said.

Also during the meeting, the council:

  • Heard the first reading of an ordinance to annex the East Telecom Parkway right-of-way south of Terrace Arbor subdivision between East Telecom Parkway and Arbor Isle Drive. The size of the property is about 1.65 acres.
    The right-of-way is immediately outside of the city’s jurisdiction, said Brad Parrish, senior planner with the city’s Community Development Department. The parcel was inadvertently left out of a plat that was approved about five or six years ago.
    “This effort here is to try and correct that error by annexing it,” Parrish said.
  • Decided to let the developer of Countryway Townhomes continue development by building single-family houses instead of townhouses that were originally planned before the housing market collapsed.
  • Heard the first readings for three ordinances to rezone four city properties from City Single-Family Residential to City Preservation. The properties include: 329 S. Riverhills Drive (Riverhills Park); 911 Bellemeade Ave. (Riverhills Park Addition/Scout Park); 6324 Temple Terrace Highway (Riverfront Preserve); and 1103 West River Drive.
  • Approved four out of five various resolutions.
  • Made appointments to the Hillsborough County Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the River Watch Task Force.
  • Heard presentations from elementary school principals. Check back to see what principals talked about in a future Patch story.
Elizabeth A. Leib November 17, 2011 at 12:55 AM
Very informative, thanks Ashley.
Grant Rimbey November 17, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Nice article.
Carol Dell May 03, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I agree with the residents of River Run that who said an access road off 78th Street would hurt wildlife habitat and foliage. I have hiked to the pavilion on the property, It was quite a hike through thick trees and brush. I really don't understand what the pavillion was build for. Carol Dell

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