Community meeting

A community meeting will address ongoing water issues in the University area

TAMPA, Fla. — The University Area Community Development Corporation says the neighbors it serves have a long-standing problem: dirty and potentially unsafe drinking water.

“The water and sewer issues in this community – like I said, we’ve been working on this for years, so while it’s no surprise to us, we certainly feel for these residents,” said said Sarah Combs, CEO. of the CDC Espace Universitaire.

Combs’ group reports that over the years neighbors have complained that the smelly and sometimes discolored water from the well burned their eyes, gave them urinary tract infections and even made them feel nauseous when showering.

More recently, the group claims that some of the well water in the area has been contaminated with sand. The latter issues have forced some tenants to leave their Holly Court flats for temporary accommodation.

“Unfortunately, the situation with Holly Court is so unfortunate,” said Combs, whose nonprofit helped tenants find temporary housing. “We really want to find a solution, and so by working with Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa, as well as some of our other partner agencies, we are working specifically with some of these families to be able to place them in a housing. temporary, then the goal is to place them in permanent housing.

Discussing solutions to water and sewer problems will be the focus of a dinner meeting on Tuesday evening.

According to Combs, USF Professor Christian Wells, who is director of the USF Brownfields Research and Development Center, will present the results of a recent study of the water and sewer infrastructure of the region to help guide the University Area CDC and its neighbors in determining their next step.

For Combs, there are reasons for optimism. Hillsborough County recently approved $5 million in U.S. bailout funds to help fund a sewer and water hookup program in the college area, which Combs hopes will address some of the root causes of the contamination.

“We’re looking at a radius of about three square miles. That’s the area we’re focusing on with this funding — through this sewer and water hookup program,” Combs said.

The free dinner date begins at 5 p.m. at the Harvest Hope Center on N 20th Street in Tampa. An RSVP is recommended but not mandatory.