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Friday, Sep 19, 2014
Northeast News

Temple Terrace council narrows bat tower location to three sites

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TEMPLE TERRACE - It is fairly certain a replica of the 1920s-era bat tower will be built in a city park. Which one, however, remains in question.

The Temple Terrace City Council this week narrowed a list of 20 potential sites for the new tower to three locations.

All three are located in city parks sprinkled throughout the city: the tennis court area in Riverhills Park, one to two possible spots in adjacent Scout Park and a riverfront site at Rotary Park near Fowler Avenue and Interstate 75.

City Council members asked the city staff to explore the three final sites and report back with a recommendation at the Aug. 20th council meeting. The council is expected to make a decision based on the staff's findings.

Councilman Grant Rimbey, who has been a leading advocate for the bat tower since his days as a member and president of the Temple Terrace Preservation Society, has picked his favorite location.

"The tennis court site is by far the best site." Rimbey said.

He described the Rotary Park location as a "kick-the-can-down-the-road" site. "It has nothing to do with what the preservation society wants to do with the project," Rimbey said.

The councilman added that Scout Park would be OK, but he expressed concern about the possibility of clearing trees to build the tower.

"It wouldn't be worth it," Rimbey said.

"I honestly don't have a preference," Councilwoman Alison Fernandez said. "They have their pros and cons."

She urged residents to take the next month to look at the sites and offer their input on the three locations.

"We want to give people enough time to know where we want to put the tower. It will be one of these sites," Fernandez said.

Councilman Bob Boss said he's leaning toward the Riverhills Park site because it has been reviewed before and effects fewer residents. The Rotary Park site is too close to apartments and could be hard to access, he said. Also, the city park is on leased property, he said.

Council members David Pogorilich and Eddie Vance could not be reached for comment.

Temple Terrace Preservation Society President Tim Lancaster said he thought the discussion about the bat tower was "going in the right direction."

"We are in a holding pattern while the city decides what site they are going to allow us to use," Lancaster said. He would not say whether the preservation society had a preferred location. When a site is determined, it would be vetted by the Bat Conservancy, Lancaster said.

"We want to make sure whatever it (the city) goes with is conducive to be a successful bat roost," Lancaster said.

kknight@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7413

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