Manhattan Avenue Job Will Shift To East Side

By MICHAEL H. SAMUELS The Tampa Tribune

Published: Feb 17, 2007

Jason Jeralb says his Dairy Joy ice cream shop used to be packed with parents and children every day after school.

That was before the city began widening Manhattan Avenue about a year ago.

Ever since, Jeralb said, business has been off 30 percent and after-school business all but nonexistent, forcing him to cut staff.

"It's really been bad," he said. "People just avoid the road."

Jeralb expects business to pick up starting Monday, when work shifts to the east side of the road, opening two new lanes in front of his shop.

Jeralb said he lost some parking because the city used right of way to widen Manhattan to four lanes with a center median from Gandy Boulevard to Euclid Avenue.

"What I'm most concerned about is that we've lost a lot of regulars," he said. "I hope they come back, but people pick up new habits."

Construction engineer Don Cermeno said workers will get started on the original, bumpy portion of Manhattan, which drivers have been complaining about for years.

"We had more work to do on the west side than we have to do on the east side," he said. "All the main stormwater piping and everything was on the west side."

Cermeno said the $9.3 million project is on schedule to be completed in August.

Keith Knecht, manager at Minnows and Monsters next door to Dairy Joy, said he expects to see a lot of accidents the first few days after the lane shift.

"People just don't pay attention," he said. "They don't adapt very well."

Jerry Frankhouser, president of the Bayside West Neighborhood Association, said he's impressed with how little the project has affected the neighborhood.

"It's about time that we're going to get a smooth road," he said. "I think it's going to be great."

Reporter Michael H. Samuels can be reached at msamuels@ or (813) 835-2109.

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