For over 4 decades, residents of the East Tampa area around 40th street have been complaining to local leaders to help improve conditions along the major thoroughfare.

Today (Tuesday) The beginning of a one section of a Federal, State, County and City project to enhance the 40th street Corridor began, with groundbreaking ceremonies on one segment of the $70 million dollar multi layered project.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio says that 40th Street is her top transportation project.

(roll tape#1 o.q.�A, B, and C�)

Mayor Iorio says that one of the tangible goals she hopes to accomplish if she makes it thru 2 terms in office is to have the complete revitalization of the project completed. She said after taking office nearly 2 years ago she tried to determine why it had never happened (roll tape# 2 o.q.�Section D�)

Segment D stretches from Busch Boulevard south to Yukon Street and will extend a 4 lane divided roadway from newly constructed tunnels at the Busch Gardens entrance. This portion of the 40th Street overhaul is rather modest, costing less than $2 million dollars and scheduled to be completed by next summer.

About $40 million of the $70 million dollar project comes from local sources, the rest from the state and Federal Government…Part of the project calls for a 4 lane street with turnabouts and sidewalks – even landscaped medians.

Neighborhood leader Robert Scott spoke passionately about the beginning of the 40th street widening. He said he has heard from many nay-sayers who have told him that the actual follow-through on redeveloping the area was simply a pipe dream (roll tape#3 “Hillsborough�)

As with other neighborhood activists in attendance, Scott had plenty of praise to give to Tampa’s Mayor, who they say has done what other Mayors have NOT done – shown the perseverance and motivation to help out the area.

Jean Johnson is vice president of Temple Crest Civic Association. She appeared to hold her tongue when asked why it had taken nearly 40 years to actual have this work on the 40th street finally happen (roll tape#4 o.q.�that really got the public’s attention�).

Johnson helped lead a gathering of citizens who demonstrated at the Hillsborough County Commission last year and created a web site and floating sign in the Hillsborough River to bring renewed focus on the plight of residents who want the area cleaned up and made safer.

Her husband, Alwin Johnson has lived and worked in the 40th Street section of Tampa for his entire life, which spans 5 decades. He said looking for help in the area from Tampa leaders spans generations (roll tape#5 o.q..�I think we’ll get it done�)

Johnson says that property values have diminished over the years in the area(“that we get it all finished�)

Temple Crest Civic Association Vice President Jean Johnson said the real excitement will be felt in the neighborhood when construction of the other segments of the Project begin (roll tape# 6 o.q.�laughter�)

The other phases of the Project are scheduled to take place in 2006 and 2007

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