Sidewalk construction almost complete

It has been three years in the making, but a sidewalk along 50th Street is nearly complete.

The two-lane street, a segue between Fletcher and Fowler avenues, had been first mentioned as a need in 2000. The street concerns were raised because traffic coming from the two main roads outside USF, as well as the west end of campus, threatened the safety of those students who walk to and from campus.

Tyvi Small, former student body president, stirred interest within the USF community during his 2000-01 term about the unlit street. Small said his successor Mike Griffin voiced the need for a sidewalk to the county.

“Griffin took the main initiative as it was something needed because a lot of students live in that area,” Small said. “I think his biggest issue was safety, rather than dodging in and out of traffic.”

At the beginning of his second term in 2002, Griffin said he made the effort to meet with Hillsborough County commissioner Jim Norman to propose the $190,000 sidewalk.

“It made sense to everybody that we needed something there,” Griffin said. “It was a clever effort between the county and (USF). It was more of a county issue and Norman decided we needed to do something about it.”

Norman said Griffin and he discussed the concerns of students having to walk along the road.

“Mike raised it to my attention. He came in with a list of concerns for students and we made that a priority,” Norman said. “We like to focus our efforts on USF to claim efforts on neighborhood commitment.”

Norman said the sidewalk should be complete in the next couple of weeks, as the it will be extended to reach Fletcher Avenue.

He is unsure of whether streetlights will be provided along the sidewalk, though.

Norman added the residents in the area would be responsible to help pay electricity on the streetlights if they were added.

“The street lights are not provided by the county,” Norman said. “That’s a community issue, and the people would have to petition TECO for the need.”