CASTOR CELEBRATES OPENING OF TOWN ‘N COUNTRY COMMONS
TOWN 'N COUNTRY,
Dec 3, 2008 -
Congresswoman Kathy Castor and hard-working community residents who long pushed for the Town ‘N Country Commons celebrated the opening today of the facility that was years in the making. Town ‘N Country Commons brings together a Head Start center, a library, a senior center and the Shimberg Gardens.
“This long-awaited center will surely be a focal point for the community,” said Castor, who began working on the effort when she was a county commissioner. “It has been sorely needed for years.”
The planning process for Town ‘N Country was launched at a meeting in October 2000. Following that, community leaders organized to define problems and establish goals for the community plan.
When elected to the Hillsborough County Commission in 2002, Castor was determined to implement the Town ‘N Country Community Plan. The No. 1 priority was to develop a town center that would serve as a neighborhood gathering place.
Castor quickly observed the need for such a site in Town ‘N Country.
Holding regular office hours in the Westgate Library, she saw how small and cramped the facility was. She also saw Head Start classes being held in a double-wide trailer. And the nearby senior center was old and inadequate.
Castor worked closely with Town ‘N Country community activists on the project. The community activists, in turn, worked tirelessly to secure the necessary approvals from the county administration and the Board of County Commissioners.
After visiting with parents and teachers, Castor convinced county and community leaders to build new Head Start classrooms as part of the library and park complex.
Congresswoman Castor looks forward to continuing to support the Town ‘N Country area. She plans to hold community office hours at the Town ‘N Country Commons, and she has submitted a federal funding request for $6.4 million for beautification efforts on a 2.8-mile stretch of Hillsborough Avenue. The money would support adding crosswalks, bike lanes and landscaping, as well as sidewalk improvements – all elements of the Town ‘N Country community plan.