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WCA Nixes Westchase Soccer Registration at Swim and Tennis Center

At their Oct. 10 meeting, the Westchase Community Association (WCA) Board of Directors voted to deny the Westchase Soccer Association’s (WSA) use of its facilities for soccer registration.

The vote, occurring after the WSA has been using the Westchase Swim and Tennis Center for registration for more than a decade, came after Facilities Manager Kelly Shires stated there was not adequate parking space for registration. The decision continues a board pattern of denying access to the facilities by outside organizations, such as Alonso High School swim and tennis teams, after years of use.

Opening the meeting was resident Dale Sells, who spoke during the resident forum. He praised the association and board for all their work to keep the Westchase community looking great.

Stamford’s Don Costello asked the board why they were no longer funding neighborhood watch programs as they had done in the past. Towards the meeting’s conclusion, Director Dyan Pithers told Costello that neighborhood watch membership fees had been removed from the budget two years ago because “if the association paid for a neighborhood’s membership, the association becomes liable.” Costello questioned why the association would be liable but both Pithers and Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz maintained that this was the case. Pithers went on to say that most neighborhoods pay for the program themselves.

West Park Village resident Ray Chiaramonte asked the board to show support for Hillsborough County’s proposed George Road Trail. Later in the meeting all directors voted to send the county a letter of support for the project.

All board members voted to ratify a letter that Government Affairs Committee Chair Darrick Sams had sent to World of Beer and Real Property Specialists about noise complaints during Wobtoberfest. WCA Vice President Ken Blair said he felt like the organizers of the event were responsive and responsible. He reported that he had taken several noise meter readings during the event and when he told the festival organizers that it was too loud, they said they would take care of the problem.

Sams reported that he sent a letter to Hillsborough County about a resident’s concern about traffic overflow from the recreation center and stated he had discussed garbage collection complaints with Republic Services.

Board members approved an amended Swim and Tennis Center Committee mission statement. Sells’ nomination to appoint Jean Strasen as the fifth member of the committee was also approved by a 5-to-1 vote. Sams, who had asked about the make-up of the committee and was told it was one male and three females, cast the dissenting vote. Secretary Keith Heinemann was not present during this part of the meeting.

Sainz reported that the new hand scanners for the swimming pools and tennis courts are in. Once the system is ready, they will begin asking residents to come in to get their hands scanned. 

Sells presented Westchase resident Raman Ramakrishnan with a special recognition of thanks for his help in improving the Westchase tennis program. When former tennis coach Mike Larscheid mentioned that they needed an app to improve tennis lessons, Ramakrishnan stepped up and purchased the expensive software for the program.

Board members also approved a new karate program to be held at the Countryway Swim and Tennis Center but denied a request from VisibleMed to hold breast cancer screening at the West Park Village offices because the company would charge for the screenings.

Directors had a lengthy discussion about Westchase Soccer Association’s (WSA) request to use the Countryway Swim and Tennis Center’s activity room for league registration. Program and Facilities Manager Kelly Shires reported that approximately 100 people show up for registration during the two-hour period when the swim team is practicing. He stated there is not enough parking for everyone. Arrillaga said it seems the program has grown so much that they have outgrown the facilities. Santiago made a motion that they deny the request but make sure the WSA knows why. The motion passed 6-1 with Pithers casting the dissenting vote. After more discussion, Arrillaga made a motion that the request be denied but that the association manager, board president, and facilities manager have the power to work with the soccer association to come up with a solution. The motion was passed 6-1 with Pithers again dissenting. 

The meeting ended with the approval of a motion that the association manager and board president have the freedom to approve replacing broken items such as pool pumps if the items are budgeted without having to bring the request before the board.

By Marcy Sanford

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