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Beach Beacon
St. Pete Beach OK's 8th Avenue lights
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ST. PETE BEACH – Eighth Avenue in Pass-A-Grille will soon be brighter at night.

City commissioners voted unanimously Jan. 14 to amend a right-of-way permit, allowing Pieces of Eight and Commercial Electric Contracting to install a 330-foot linear light strand above the street. The lights will be draped five times diagonally across the street, attached to five, 35-foot palm trees.

“You may recall, it’s been a couple of years now, that you approved installation of lights from between buildings and trees along Eighth Avenue,” said City Manager Mike Bonfield. “They’ve raised some money from their events and they want to expand that to the east. They do have enough trees in the area that will allow them to attach the lights to palm trees. So they’re requesting we amend the right-of-way permit to allow the additional lights.”

Commissioner Jim Parent questioned the safety of the lights during windy conditions.

“I’m all in favor of the lights down there. I think it looks cool and it’s the right environment for the city,” said Parent. “But I noticed the lines connect at a point where there are no trees. I’m also concerned about something like an electrical line waving around in the wind.”

Public Service Director Steve Hallock said Pieces of Eight would be donating palm trees in places where they don’t exist.

“So in places you don’t see trees, there will be trees there,” said Hallock. “Also, I had about a 30-minute conversation with the lighting consultant they’re using. (the stand) is like a harness. It’s been used in other locations and it’s worked out well. It’s all high quality. It’s got a lot of flexibility to it. It has the ability to give and take.”

Mayor Steve McFarlin asked who owns the lights once they’re up.

Hallock said it would be Pieces of Eight but if history is any indication, the city might take them over at some point.

“Often or not, people will say we’ll give you the money, or they’ll put it in,” said Hallock, “and five years down the road the city pretty much has to start maintaining it. So I expect eventually the city will wind up being responsible for them.

“I would recommend we give it a try and see if there are any issues, and if we need to take them down in the future, it’s our discretion and we can tell them they can’t be up there any more.”

Friszolowski replaces Shavlan

Ward Friszolowski, 53, was named interim city commissioner to replace Marvin Shavlan, who moved outside the city.

Friszolowski will serve through the second meeting in March when a newly-elected commissioner takes office in District 3.

Friszolowski currently serves as chairman of the city’s Planning Board and was most recently a member of the Historic Preservation Board. He also served as chairman of the Library Advisory Committee.

Friszolowski was mayor from 2000 to 2008, vice mayor, 1995-2000; city commissioner, 1994-95, and chairman of the Aesthetic and Historic Review Board, 1992-94.

He owns Harvard Jolly Architecture.

Pavilion named in honor of Keller

Commissioners voted unanimously to name the Lido Park Pavilion after the late Harry Keller, a longtime president of the Lido Beach Citizens Association.

“I think the thing you can say about Harry is he was a good person,” said Neil Callahan, the current president of the LBCA. “He was a throwback and larger than life guy. He was probably known up and down Gulf Boulevard in all the establishments but he was also always at the Catholic church every Sunday morning as the usher.”

Miscellaneous

In other action, commissioners:

• Named McFarlin the city’s representative on a committee formed by Pinellas County to review changes in the National Flood Insurance Program.

• Authorized the Recreation Department to hang banners over 75th Avenue and the Pinellas Bayway announcing two Suntan 100 Artist Shows on Feb. 22-23 and Nov. 29-30.

• Authorized paying Seminole Septic $23,000 to clean and televise the Boca Ciega Drive gravity wastewater pipe, from Corey Avenue north to 87th Avenue.
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