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Olympics will cause lot closures

The Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games heads back to USF to celebrate its 30th anniversary this weekend “where it all started.” The games will serve as the first major event of the anniversary celebration.

More than 15,000 athletes, 4,000 coaches and 25,000 volunteers will be coming to USF and other selected venues in Tampa Bay to celebrate the 2002 Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games. The event will take place during a two-day period on Friday and Saturday.

With the opening ceremonies taking place on April 26, the University Police and Parking and Transportation Services will try to minimize the daily activities of the university by advising students and staff about which parking lots will be designated for the Special Olympics. The closings are due to patron parking, staging events, operations and for the athletes who are planning on attending.

Bill Pollock, lieutenant for UP, said the announcement for the closing of one of the resident parking lots will probably cause the most people to become upset.

Students who park in Lot 35, which is located on the southeast corner of Holly Drive and Maple Drive, will close on Friday at 6 a.m. and will reopen around 10 p.m. The closing is due to fireworks that will go along with the opening ceremonies.

Pollock said the goal is to have the entire lot empty, but that might change after meeting with the fireworks company.

“We will go out there in the morning and meet with the company and to see how the wind is blowing,” Pollock said. “We want to make sure that if the wind is blowing a certain way that we don’t have the firework debris falling on the cars.”

If the wind is blowing the right way, Pollock said, the lot will be closed, and the fireworks display will start a little after 9 p.m. and end a little after 10 p.m. Students will be allowed back into the lot after the fireworks are done.

That parking lot will be used as a safety area for the fireworks, Pollock said. Students who normally park in Lot 35 will be asked to park in Lot 17B, known as the nonresident parking lot on Maple Drive across from the track and soccer field.

“There will be e-mails posted on the listservs, and we will be passing out flyers as well to let the students know what they should do,” Pollock said.

Contact Stefanie Green at