TAMPA, Fla. — Cleaner water. Better fire protection. Safer streets.
The City of Tampa said those are just some of the goals behind a series of projects coming to several neighborhoods, a few of which — MacFarlane Park and East Tampa — will begin in the coming weeks.
Brad Baird, Tampa’s Deputy Administrator of Infrastructure, said those two neighborhoods have been picked by the city’s Foundation for Tampa’s Neighborhoods for water, wastewater, stormwater, and road improvements. Work will begin in MacFarlane Park and East Tampa in the next few weeks and in Virginia Park and Forest Hills in the coming years.
“We will try to, you know, minimize the impact to the citizens as we move through their neighborhoods, but in the end, this will be worth it,” said Baird.
City crews will primarily work to replace or repair old underground pipes, which means some neighborhood streets will be torn up to allow the city to do that work. It’s work, however, that Baird said should lead to better fire protection, better water quality, and fewer water main breaks.
Right now, an average of eight water main breaks happen in Tampa daily.
“Our infrastructure is as much as a hundred years old in some cases, especially for the water and wastewater infrastructure, and so, it’s imperative that as the city grows, we replace that infrastructure and rehabilitate that infrastructure, so we have a good foundation,” he said.
While it works on the water and wastewater system, the city will also use the opportunity to repave streets, install some new sidewalks and repair others and neighborhood streets that are prone to localized flooding.
The city is hosting a public meeting on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Library in East Tampa to educate neighbors on the expected impact.
“Have them understand what the disruption’s about; what the impact to their property will be; how long their driveway may be closed, which is short periods of time, and to be patient,” explained Baird.
Work in the four neighborhoods should conclude in 2025.
You can learn more about the timeline and scope of the work by watching this video.