Golf course fumigated despite resident protests

- Despite protests from neighbors, the Tampa Sports Authority went through with using a controversial pesticide at the city-owned Babe Zaharias Golf Course on Tuesday.

Some residents, whose homes sit along the course, were concerned that fumigating with the pesticide curfew might make them sick.

Sports Authority officials have said for months that the fumigation is needed to eliminate a nematode issue that is killing the turf.

As crews with Dow AgroSciences, who handled the chemical, rolled into the Forest Hills neighborhood around 7 a.m. Tuesday, they were met with unwelcoming signs in several yards that read, "No curfew" and "Stop toxic chemicals in our neighborhood."

"My concerns were mostly for my husband, who is a cancer survivor," said Janis, whose home is feet away from the golf course. "He recently went through surgery and chemo. We heard things in the past about [curfew] not being healthy."

Some residents who feared the wind would blow pesticide fumes into their homes packed up and left for hotels on Monday night.

Others, like Ray Horner, chose to stay. He said he trusts Tampa Sports Authority officials, who advised residents that the pesticide is not harmful to them, and they would only need to stay off the golf course grass for 24 hours.

"There's no odor emanating from it. There's nothing really unusual about it," said Horner.

The course will reopen on Wednesday. The Sports Authority is expected to fumigate with curfew the same morning at the Rocky Point Golf Course, which is not bordered by houses.

Some Forest Hills residents have collectively hired an attorney, who is now contacting the Sports Authority on their behalf, asking for reimbursement for the money spent on hotels.

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