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CDD Selects Davey For Landscape Rehab Projects

A 90-minute meeting of the Westchase CDD on Nov. 1 saw supervisors move closer to significantly revamping the landscaping at some Westchase entrances.

The board of Westchase’s Community Development District (CDD) also revisited pond bank erosion plans and the long-delayed completion of Westchase park renovations.

At October’s CDD meeting, Supervisor Brian Ross suggested the board seek a second opinion about approaches to pond bank erosion repairs. In recent months CDD Engineer Tonja Stewart had suggested they could approach $5 million before stating that less expensive erosion control plantings could reduce that amount. In October Ross agreed to table the discussion about the second opinion until Stewart was present at the next meeting. Stewart, however, was not present for November’s meeting although District Manager Andy Mendenhall stated she was available by phone.

Supervisors, however, simply tabled discussion again for a future meeting, requesting Mendenhall share information he had about a handful of other geotechnical engineering firms with expertise in pond bank erosion. While Mendenhall again stated that Stewart had the expertise to handle erosion issues, Ragusa said his research of the geotechnical firms caused him to conclude there were seven or eight used approaches to erosion control. “Sitting on this board,” he stated, “I’ve only heard three approaches.”

Mendenhall responded that the approaches that Stewart has discussed are those most commonly used by the geotechnical company with which she has most frequently worked.

Mendenhall and Field Manager Doug Mays then revisited supervisors’ October request that they identify a number of landscape architects to offer a new landscape design for a handful of key Westchase areas. Mays stated that, after he pressed Davey, the district’s current landscape contractor, the company came forward with its own landscape architect. He offered a number of tentative designs that Mays stated would be improved with more time.

Commented Supervisor Jim Mills of Davey’s image of the eastern entrance landscaping design, “It’s got a lot more wow factor than what sits there today.”

Supervisors elected to move forward with Davey for the work and asked Mays to follow up with their landscape architect to fine tune the designs for the re-plantings.

CDD Attorney Erin McCormick then briefed supervisors on issues related to West Park Village tot playground construction and Westchase road repaving. At October’s meeting, Field Supervisor Doug Mays announced that REP, the company doing the park renovations, had run into issues with the park’s soil base, triggering the hiring of an outside engineering firm that suggested $9,000 in work before the pouring of the playground’s soft surface. Supervisors, however, asked McCormick and Supervisor Brian Ross to address the matter with REP, whose contract stipulated REP would cover soil work. McCormick stated Ross and she had worked with the company, at the company’s expense, to come up with a fix that met approval of the engineering firm. Further, at Ross’ suggestion, REP increased its warranty for the work from two to four years.

“All around awesome resolution,” stated Supervisor Greg Chesney.

McCormick also announced that the CDD had put discussions with Hillsborough County about Westchase road repaving on hold. She suggested doing so in light of the announcement that after commissioners’ Jan. 5 meeting the county would release a formal list of roads that would be repaved in coming years. An Oct. 25 meeting with County Commissioner Sandy Murman and Department of Public Works Director John Lyons made clear that nearly all of non-gated Westchase roads outside of West Park Village were on the county’s list for road repaving. Lyons stated that he expected many of them to be repaved in 2017-2018.

Briefing supervisors on delayed park renovations, Mays stated he expected work in West Park Village to be completed in the next week or so. He also stated he would bring proposals for the walling or fencing off of the splash pad’s equipment panels to December’s meeting after it became evident kids were playing on them.

Pressed to detail the long-delayed completion of Glencliff Park, which has been the focus of Westchase residents’ complaints, Mays initially expressed reluctance to offer another date given that previous projected completion dates had passed. When pressed, he ran through a list of pending work, stating the playground itself should be completed within the week. Other work on sidewalks and landscaping will keep the park closed, however. He estimated a park completion of the third week of November.

Concluding major actions, CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte stated the Westchase Community Association (WCA) had agreed to match the CDD’s $5,000 for a celebration commemorating Westchase’s 25th anniversary and the park opening. Whyte stated she was working with WCA management staff to organize a Jan. 21 party at Glencliff Park from 1-4 p.m. While issues of adequate parking and the possibility of hiring parking shuttles were briefly discussed, CDD Chair Mark Ragusa argued the event should be held at Glencliff rather than West Park Village. He stated adequate street parking was available on the streets of Westchase villages near Glencliff Park.

Supervisors adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

In other actions:

Supervisor Brian Ross asked Field Supervisor Doug Mays to explore with Davey a plan to remove moss from trees along Linebaugh Avenue and Countryway Boulevard. Warning that the work had to be done by hand (he stated chemicals would harm the sod) and would be pricey, Mays stated he would look into it.

CDD Office Manager Sonny Whyte stated that Harbor Links’ old, malfunctioning gate motors at the Peabody entrance had to be replaced. The initial prices she found were $3,750 per unit, for a total of $11,000. (Gate repair costs are paid by the homeowners of the neighborhood.) Whyte added that this past year’s projected costs for Harbor Links streetlights was under $8,000, a dramatic decline from amounts the neighborhood previously paid in annual maintenance and use costs for its old gas street lights.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

Posted 3 November 2016

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