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Madeira Beach park getting upgrades
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Photo courtesy of the CITY OF MADEIRA BEACH
This is an artist’s rendition of what the new archway to Archibald Park in Maderia Beach will look like.
MADEIRA BEACH – Long discussed improvements to the city of Maderia Beach’s prime Gulf front park facility are due to begin within a couple of weeks.

The city chose Kloote Contracting Co. of Palm Harbor to do a series of upgrades to the park that will cost close to $1 million. A bid from Kloote was discussed at a special workshop prior to the Feb. 12 City Commission meeting and awarded later in the meeting.

The beautification project includes a number of improvements to the park. Among them are upgrades to the lighting, Snack Shack log cabin, restrooms, decking and parking lots. The wooden boardwalks will feature recycled materials. New landscaping includes a row of date palms illuminated with turtle-friendly lights that will change with the nesting season.

A surprise inclusion in the bid was a signature archway entrance costing about $80,000. The commission struck out that item last month, along with a spiral staircase inside the Snack Shack cabin.

The archway will now be built, but at less expense, and safer, fold-down steps will replace the staircase.

Commissioner Terry Lister had been opposed to the archway, believing it to be too costly and inconsistent with the new Madeira Beach signage going up throughout the city. But he relented during the bid discussion, saying he had heard from a number of residents who favored the archway entrance.

“It’s a relatively flamboyant entrance,” said City Manager Shane Crawford. But he added, “People are very much in favor of the arch.”

The park improvements will be paid for out of the city’s share of Penny for Pinellas funds, which Crawford said was an appropriate use for that money.

“It’s there for capital projects,” he said.

Vice Mayor Robin Vander Velde wanted the funding to come from past parking meter revenues generated at Archibald Park.

The commission voted 3-1 to use Penny for Pinellas money. Vander Velde voted no. Commissioner Nancy Oakley was absent.

Kloote Contracting was awarded the job by a unanimous vote.

Mayor Travis Palladeno was exuberant to see the Archibald Park improvements finally coming.

“A survey of beaches done three years ago puts Madeira Beach in the top 10,” he said. “We have one of the prettiest beaches, and now we’ll have a showcase park there to make our residents proud of their city.”

Work on the park is scheduled to begin around March 1 and take about six months to complete, Crawford said.

Madeira Way festivals

The city’s long-struggling shopping area on Madeira Way has seen a recent upturn.

To aid the momentum, the commission approved a year’s worth of two-day themed events for the thoroughfare, titled Mid-Month Madness.

The schedule includes an art show, custom cars show, motorcycle show, food festival, animal parade, home decor show, international food festival and a pre-St. Patrick’s Day festival.

Proposals for projects and activities to revitalize the Madeira Way corridor have come and gone over the years. The current series of events was first proposed two years ago, but up to now, nothing has materialized.

Veteran promoter Suzanne King of SIK Promotions said the first event, a craft show held around Thanksgiving last year, was “a huge success” and drew high praise from the merchants and those in attendance.
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