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Frank Reddick requests public money, donations for sandbags

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa City Councilman Frank Reddick is requesting public donations to pay for sandbags to provide to citizens in East Tampa in anticipation of Hurricane Irma, calling the conditions at the city’s Jackson Heights pickup spot as “deplorable.”

Reddick said he saw very long lines of 150-200 motorists waiting to pick up sandbags at Jackson Heights Center at 34th and Lake Streets in East Tampa Wednesday. Citizens are asked to fill up those sandbags, but Reddick called it “disturbing” to see so many senior citizens struggling to do so.

Saying that he wants to provide a pickup place for residents in the Sulphur Springs and Busch Blvd. areas, Reddick told the Tampa City Council Thursday that a private company is now donating sand for sandbags. But the city needs more sandbags.

So the councilman used his platform on the dais Thursday to make a public plea for any private company listening to him to donate those bags. But with time running out, and the storm expected to make landfall this weekend, he also asked anyone from the public to make a financial contribution which would go to pay for those bags.

“We’re trying to raise $3,000,” he said, and he stated that those wishing to help can call his office at 813-274-8189.

The city of Tampa announced Thursday that sandbags were no longer available at Jackson Heights Center. Instead, citizens can go to pick up sandbags at Al Barnes Park, 2902 N 32nd Street.

Officials in Hillsborough County also said the county’s distribution sites have run out of sand and bags because of high demand, after distributing them at “an unprecedented rate of about 10,000 bags per hour.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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