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WCA Board Votes Honor WCA Director Carlsen and Oppose Montague Extension

At the April 9 Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Director meeting, directors voted to posthumously recognize former WCA Director Kathy Carlsen with the 2015 Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor Award and to oppose county plans to extend of Montague Street southward across the railroad tracks in West Park Village.

According Director Joe Odda, Chair of Government Affairs Committee, there are three proposed projects on the county’s transportation plan that affect Westchase residents: a proposal to widen W. Linebaugh Avenue from four to six lanes between Sheldon Road and Dale Mabry Highway, the expansion of Citrus Park Drive from Sheldon Road near the mall to Countryway Boulevard near the library, and a proposal to connect Montague Street across the CSX railroad tracks in West Park Village to Montague Street in Charleston Corners. He urged all Westchase residents to attend a Hillsborough County Transportation for Economic Development meeting to weigh in on the projects.

“The county is giving residents the chance to make their opinions known,” said Odda. “This is your chance to give input and express your thoughts and concerns on the county’s plans.”

Board members expressed concern that if Linebaugh Avenue were widened between Sheldon Road and Dale Mabry Highway, the county would next try widening the stretch through Westchase from Sheldon Road to Race Track Road. 

Board President Joaquin Arrillaga said that he had met with West Park Village voting members (VMs) and all had expressed their opposition to the proposal to extend Montague Street across the CSX tracks. “They all agreed that this would create significant traffic problems in West Park Village,” said Arrillaga.

In the past, the board has sent resolutions to the county stating their opposition to the widening of Linebaugh Avenue through Westchase and in favor of the expansion of Citrus Park Drive. Director Brian Ross suggested the WCA establish a position opposed to the Montague extension proposal and all directors voted in favor of his motion. West Park Village VM Carlos Quiros suggested they add that all West Park Village VMs were opposed to the extension and board members agreed.

Ross said, “We want to encourage the county to spend any transportation dollars they have on the Citrus Park Drive expansion and let them know that we don’t want county money spent on the widening of Linebaugh or the extension of Montague.”

Westchase residents can attend any one of the public transportation meetings held during May to express their views. The most convenient one to Westchase is May 18, from 6-8 p.m., at the Town and Country Public Library. For the full schedule of meetings or information about other ways to give input, visit http://gohillsborough.org/your-voice/

During the open forum of the board meeting Bennington resident John Kelly told directors that the young people who worked at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center were doing a great job and that he appreciated Tennis Coach Roberto Calla’s tips in WOW. Kelly said that he had read the WCA article from the March board meeting and wanted to respond to the revision to the usage rules for the Westchase tennis courts. Previously, two courts at each facility had to be left open for resident reservations. Due to the popularity of the Westchase tennis programs and tournaments, board members revised the rules in favor of four courts being available to residents at all times but all four courts could be at one facility. Kelly said he preferred the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center courts because there was more shade and they were closer to his home. He said he had talked to a number of tennis players who felt the same way. Arrillaga thanked him for his comments and for coming to the meeting.

Arrillaga presented Ray Ramakrishnan with a Westchase Medallion in appreciation of all his work and help with the tennis programs. Ramakrishnan is the father of a tennis player and his family and he help out the tennis program when they see a need. “The Ramakrishnans are great supporters of the program,” said WCA Operations Manager Kelly Shires. “In addition to everything else they do, they always provide trophies and special cakes for our tournaments.”

Long-time Modifications Committee Chair Jovanna Hoagland is moving out of Westchase. Director Ken Blair nominated committee member Dale Sells to serve in her place after she resigns and all board members voted in favor. Sells told the board that Hoagland never complained about the abuse she received from residents who were not happy with the Modification Committee’s decisions and he thought it would be good if they could honor her in some way.

Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz reported that construction on the United States Tennis Association Quickstart Courts at the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center should begin on April 20.

All board members voted in favor of suspending the use rights of the swim and tennis facilities for residents who are still delinquent with their 2015 assessment fees.

Arrillaga said that during certain months, the WCA had to spend a significant amount of money to buy items for their programs, such as purchases for T-shirts for summer camp or uniforms for lifeguards. He said that with those larger purchases and the normal purchases combined, the WCA sometimes exceeded its monthly credit card limit of $3,000. He suggested that the amount be increased. All voted in favor of increasing the spending limit on WCA credit cards from $3,000 to $5,000 per month.

All directors voted in favor of revising the tennis ball machine rules and policies to state that residents using it must be 18 or older; if a resident is under 18, he or she must be accompanied by an adult who is their primary guardian.

All directors also voted in favor of posthumously awarding WCA Director Kathy Carlsen with the 2015 Nathan Lafer Good Neighbor award. A former VM for Glencliff who was elected to the WCA Board in September 2014, Carlsen died on March 21 after a sudden illness.

Board Treasurer Dyan Pithers was absent from the meeting.

The WCA Board meetings are open to the public. The next one is scheduled for May 14 at 7 p.m. at the WCA offices at 10049 Parley Dr.

By Marcy Sanford

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