This is the view from the end of Kinnan St., which runs north from Cross Creek Blvd. Mansfield Blvd. in Meadow Pointe is on the other side of the barrier, about 40 feet away. (Photo: John C. Cotey)

For New Tampa residents hoping that one day Kinnan St. in New Tampa would be connected to Mansfield Blvd. in Meadow Pointe at the southern county line of Pasco County — allowing locals an alternate route to Wesley Chapel — news that work has already begun on connecting the roads for emergency vehicles only might be a bit of a letdown.

 Luis Viera, however, says he will take it. The Tampa District 7 City Council member (see pg. 6) and New Tampa resident likened the final result to “a single, maybe a double” but praised the decision to move forward and provide that emergency access.

“The firefighters at Station No. 23 (on Cross Creek Blvd.) that I’ve talked to are very excited about it,” Viera says. “This is something all of New Tampa should celebrate. The Kinnan-Mansfield stalemate literally hasn’t moved even an inch forward in two decades.”

The connection was orignally expected to be completed by the end of the summer, but a finishing date is unclear, due to the coronavirus outbreak. Viera says some final meetings between the City of Tampa and Hillsborough and Pasco counties to put the finishing touches on the agreement have been postponed, and may be rescheduled via phone.

The deal calls for the developer of K-Bar Ranch to pave the connection, while Hillsborough County addresses the design and construction of the remaining infrastructure, which will include an emergency access gate and paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.

“We want to have control over that,” said Pasco County commissioner Mike Moore, a longtime opponent of connecting the two roads to through traffic.

Moore says that while the Pasco County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) has voted to grant access to first responders only, it remains opposed to ever opening to local traffic and that will be codified in an agreement coming before the Pasco County Board of Commissioners in the near future, where it also will vote on the maintenance agreement for the connection.

So, say goodbye to the most infamous patch of untended, overgrown, garbage-infested grass and bushes in our area, as the agreement ends years of bitter fighting between the two counties, with Hillsborough County and Tampa seeking numerous times to connect the road and Pasco County, which at one time wanted was the entity that wanted it connected, refusing to budge in its opposition.

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