REDINGTON BEACH – After several months of back and forth negotiations, the town of Redington Beach is now the owner of a vacant two-lot parcel purchased from Redington Shores, Mayor Nick Simons said at the Jan. 7 Town Commission meeting.
The closing took place Jan. 3 at Redington Beach Town Hall.
The agreed upon purchase price, not including closing costs which Redington Beach agreed to pay, amounted to $300,000 for the 12,000-square-foot parcel that sits just south of Town Park at Gulf Boulevard and 164th Avenue.
Although the commissioners had hoped they might be able to convince Redington Shores to sell it for closer to the fair market value, money or lack thereof, did not play a significant role as the town currently has adequate funds in its capital projects account on which to draw.
In addition, the town also can expect to receive thousands of dollars over the next several years from Pennies for Pinellas – money that carries the stipulation it must be spent only on infrastructure. Acquiring property falls within those guidelines.
The final deal was something of a compromise between what Redington Beach had hoped to pay and the property’s assessed value of $330,000 on the open market as determined by an independent appraisal firm hired jointly by the two towns that were then at an impasse.
Simons has emphasized the property will serve as open green space to the adjacent Town Park, and there are no immediate plans to develop it despite the fact that it is zoned for residential, office and retail use.
Commissioner Fred Steiermann, who also heads the town’s park and recreation services, said the department plans to discuss future uses for the lot.
The sale comes after a few fits and starts including an initial bid Redington Beach made last summer of $215,000, an amount based on the fair market value listed with the Pinellas County Appraiser’s Office.
Redington Shores then countered with a price of $350,000.
In hopes that Redington Shores would act as a “good neighbor”, Redington Beach then requested a right of first refusal, but that was rebuffed by the Redington Shores commission which, at the time, seemed in no rush to part with the property; however, once the new appraisal value came in, the commissioners expressed the desire to put up a for-sale sign and let the bidding begin.
Upon further discussion, the Redington Beach Commission voted unanimously to raise its offer to $300,000 – an amount that proved enticing enough for Redington Beach to accept.
Resident questions upcoming event
Redington Beach resident, Melody Brown came before the commission voicing concern over the board’s decision last month to allow the use of Town Hall for the JumpStart Fit Camp, an organization that is hosting a daylong health and wellness event on Jan. 18.
“I feel opening up the town to a nonresident … you are stressing out the facilities. It brings crime with more people,” Brown said. “We seem to be getting larger and larger. We’re doing beer fests, wine fests, Cinco de Mayo fests, Sock hops.”
Steiermann reminded Brown that those events are held every year by Santa’s Angels, a town-based organization whose members are all current residents.
“What about insurance? What if something happens with all these people coming into town?” Brown asked.
Town Attorney Brandon Huffman replied that Town Hall has adequate insurance to cover any damage that could potentially occur. In addition, the commissioners asked that the event organizer agree to put up a refundable $200 cleaning and damage fee as well as a $22 per hour staffing fee, up to four hours, for Public Works to provide cleanup.
The terms outlined by the commission were agreed to and met by the event organizer, Jodi Jantomaso, at a subsequent commission meeting
“We’ve rented this facility about four or five times during my tenure. It’s not a frequent occurrence, but it is a public building. The request was made, we considered it and granted the request,” said Simons.
Jantomaso said proceeds from the event would go to the Caregiving Youth Project, an organization that helps teenagers who are the sole support for ill or disabled parents.