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April 28, 2017

Tampa Bay Times

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New Hyde Park Village taking shape with a year of barricades and dust ahead

TAMPA — It seems a long time now since the fountain plaza at Hyde Park Village beckoned people strolling by with its scenic surroundings and twinkling waters.

But the jackhammers, concrete saws and construction trucks that shattered the serenity last spring are bringing reconstruction closer to completion next spring. The next phase starts Monday — closing the road through the village all week to connect a water main.

That means shifting around once again the orange cones and concrete barricades that have come to define Hyde Park Village and its 51 businesses, all showing varying degrees of impatience with the project.

“We are beyond appreciative of our community,” said Gabby Soriano, marketing director for the village, owned by New England-based retail developer WS Development.

For the water main work, crews will close the northbound lane of Rome Avenue/Snow Avenue/Dakota Avenue between Morrison Avenue and Swann Avenue. Traffic will be routed around Village Circle Road to Dakota Avenue providing circulation for local residents and businesses. The work is set to last through 4 p.m. Friday, the city of Tampa said in news release.

Sidewalks on the east side of the road also will be closed.

In addition, Dakota Avenue south of Swann Avenue will be closed to southbound traffic starting this week and lasting through early June.

The good news is that frustrated shoppers and businesses now can get a glimpse of the payoff for all their trouble — South Dakota Avenue, by Sprinkles and Timpano, now boasts new, level sidewalks; landscaping; bicycle racks and on-street parking.

The prospect of a rebuilt Hyde Park Village is especially appealing at jeweler Kendra Scott, which has known only construction chaos since it opened a store on Swann Avenue in May.

Now, the barricades out front have been removed and a traffic signal has been installed nearby.

“We’re doing extremely well and exceeding expectations,” said Kendra Scott community relations manager Brittney Ann Cardillo. “I can’t imagine what it’ll be like now with a clear path to our store.”

The store celebrates its one year anniversary Saturday .

“We’ve had amazing results and looking are looking forward to future,” Cardillo said. “Hyde Park has been wonderful to us.”

It’s a different story for the shops around the fountain, known as the Village Circle. Customers have to walk under scaffolding and through orange-and-white barricades. Along Snow Circle, behind Bartaco and The Wine Bar, half the sidewalk is torn up amid piles of dust.

Step into a Hyde Park Village shop during business hours and you might find employees grumbling about the timing and the noise of the work outside their doors. But in visits and phone calls to about 20 businesses there, workers and customers were reluctant to talk on the record.

Still, at Downtown Dogs on Snow Circle — a Hyde Park Village store for 12 years — owner Rene Neff said the center is beginning to realize its potential.

“To see this project unfold is a very welcomed and exciting time for me,” Neff said in an email. “This is what I had dreamed would happen for the village.”

Frequent Hyde Park Village visitor Peter Lowrey, 24, said he doesn’t mind the chaos.

“Sure, it’s an eyesore for a few months,” Lowrey said. “But it’s going to be worth it. It’s going to turn it into the nicest neighborhood in Florida.”

By Hannah Farrow, Times Staff Writer

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