New playground going in after child killed playing in University Area street

UACDC also creating more affordable housing nearby
Posted at 3:33 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 17:46:17-05

Nearly three years after a car hit and killed a little boy as he played in the street, a community is taking steps to protect other kids in the University Area neighborhood.

The night Yves Zamora died, 20th Street in Tampa was so dark, you could barely make out a cyclist riding by the scene of the accident.

Now, a memorial stands in remembrance of the little boy who rolled into the road playing on his scooter. The driver was not charged.

Even years later, neighbors are unable to forget.

"The car was coming real fast," said Gregory Curry, who lives around the block from the crash site. "They was out there playing. In that area, there's no sidewalks."

It's been a persistent problem in the University Area. A lack of sidewalks, streetlights and other infrastructure issues plague the neighborhood.

Zamora's death has prompted the University Area Community Development Corporation to take action to protect kids.

"That incident helped us realize we have to have a place that children can run free and play," said Sarah Combs, UACDC CEO.

UACDC is now adding a playground near the crash site to keep kids out of the street. They're also growing a neighborhood garden and expanding a teaching kitchen so local families can learn to prepare fresh food.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says these projects will help reduce crime and protect kids.

"Instead of having outsiders come through buying drugs, you're going to have families here and that's obviously going to make everything a lot better," Major David Fleet told ABC Action News.

The UACDC also purchased some vacant lots near the crash site and now has plans to turn those areas into affordable housing, potentially helping hundreds of University Area families.

"We're growing our community, one block at a time," Combs said.

For people who have lived in the area for decades, this is a long time coming.

"Having a safe place for kids, that's the bottom up of how you grow a country," said Roger Palmer, a neighbor.

They say investing in these kids is the best way to keep them safe.



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