As the economy improves, so does development. According to a recent report, plenty of projects are in the works throughout Pinellas.
Pinellas County Economic Development staff released its annual Development Updates, sortable by city and project, in September.
“We’ve been very pleased with the response to this year’s Pinellas County Development Updates,” said Stacey Swank, Business Development manager for PCED Marketing & Communications. “The economy is recovering, and redevelopment in Pinellas is paramount for our expanding companies to find room to grow and create new jobs.”
Several projects were spotlighted in the 26-page report, including an addition of 45,000 square feet to Tech Data’s existing 240,000-square-foot facility in Largo, and BayCare Health System's new $99 million headquarters campus in Clearwater.
Another highlight is a new 20,000-square-foot addition to the Technology and Innovation Center at Oscor in Palm Harbor. GE Digital Management is building a new 190,000-square-foot manufacturing Center of Excellence in Clearwater.
“In retail, there are too many projects to list in their entirety. From Pinellas’ first Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe's, to the re-imagined Sundial and Seminole Mall, local consumers will have more convenient and upscale shopping choices and temptations,” the report said.
Pinellas County is recovering. Adverse effects of the Great Recession, 2010 oil spill and tragic events of 9/11 are fading. Signs are pointing the way toward better times ahead.
Property values are up. Tourism is up and so are bed tax collections. More passengers are using St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport than ever before. Pinellas County seems to be rebounding nicely.
“It is amazing to see how much the tourist industry has improved since 9/11; we went from collecting $15 million to over $33 million today. I recall it was a difficult time for many in the hotel industry. It is exciting to see that we have more than doubled our collection of tourist development taxes over the past 13 years,” said Diane Nelson, Pinellas County Tax Collector. “Tourism is alive and well not only in Pinellas County but throughout the State of Florida.”
More than 28 percent of Pinellas County’s 623,605 registered voters had already cast a ballot for the Nov. 4 general election, as of Wednesday, Oct. 29.
As of Oct. 29, less than a week to Election Day, 158,638 (58.56 percent) of 270,883 mail ballots distributed had been returned to an Elections Office. Republicans were leading the Democrats with 106,794 mail ballots requested to the Democrats with 103,211. Another 60,883 ballots had been mailed to voters registered as other than Republican or Democrat.
Two new faces will join Pinellas County Commissioners in November.
One of the two will be decided in the race for the at-large District 2 seat currently held by Commissioner Norm Roche, who was defeated in the primary. The second will be the winner of the single-member District 4 seat of longtime Commissioner Susan Latvala, who is retiring.
Four candidates are running in the Nov. 4 election for a chance to represent District 4 on the Pinellas County Commission. Commissioner Susan Latvala, who has served the district since 2000, is retiring.
The winner of the race will be one of two new faces joining the commission in November. The second will be decided in the race for the at-large District 2 seat currently held by Commissioner Norm Roche, who was defeated in the primary.
Pinellas County businesses have the opportunity to dispose of canceled, suspended and unusable pesticides at no cost through the Operation Cleansweep program being offered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Operation Cleansweep is a mobile pesticide program, which is offering statewide pick-up of pesticides for farms/groves, nurseries, pest control services, greenhouses, forestry services, ranches and golf courses at no cost for the first 500 pounds and 89 cents per pound thereafter. Wholesalers and governmental entities can also participate at the state contract rate of 89 cents per pound.
Storm surge is the deadliest, yet least understood, threat posed by hurricanes. Many residents do not heed mandatory evacuation orders because they don’t understand just how high the water can rise where they live.
Residents should be aware that evacuations are ordered because of storm surge, except for those living in mobile homes.
Take charge of the energy in your home during National Energy action month this October. On average, Floridians use about 1100 kWh per month or spend about $120 per month on energy needs. Making homes more energy efficient can help reduce high energy bills improve comfort and protect the environment.
The Pinellas Energy Efficiency Project offers free educational classes that provide tips and incentives to make residential homes more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort.