St. Pete Beach commissioners have decided to rename the 3,000-square-foot Boca Ciega Room the Morean Waterside Room. The facility is located at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive.
ST. PETE BEACH – City officials decided Aug. 14 to rebrand the Boca Ciega Room as the Morean Waterside Room, in honor of philanthropist Beth Morean, the namesake of the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg.
St. Pete Beach Mayor Steve McFarlin led an effort that began in June to rename the 3,000-square-foot facility at the Community Center in an effort to market it better for weddings and other related functions. It has room for about 180 guests and offers a view of Boca Ciega Bay.
McFarlin thought using Morean’s name would be good because Morean is well known in the arts community and was a heavy contributor to St. Pete Beach when the community center was constructed.
Initially, Morean agreed to have her name used on the Boca Ciega Room, located at 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, if the commission believed it would be beneficial to the city. Later on, commissioners decided to rename the entire Community Center, using Morean’s name but Morean didn’t agree to it.
In an email to McFarlin, Morean said “After giving it some thought, I’ve found that I’m not comfortable with naming the whole center after me. The real purpose was to give the room a brandable identity and I think renaming the whole complex after me defeats the purpose. And there were many people who gave their time and money to help build the complex.”
During a recent meeting, City Commissioner Jim Parent suggested a name using “waterside” in it. A suggestion also was made by a member of the audience to name the facility Morean Waterside Ballroom.
Parent said he wasn’t in favor of the term “ballroom” because it sounded old.
“I still like waterside,” he said. “A lot of people like the Boca Ciega concept too because of the Bay, not for the room necessarily. I’d like to keep that name some how so it’s recognizable.”
McFarlin said ballroom “over-describes the place.”
“It’s called the Boca Ciega Room now,” McFarlin said. “How about the Morean Waterside Room?”
“I’m fine with that,” said Parent.
The rest of the commission agreed. Discussions on signage will be next.
In other action, commissioners:
• Approved a contract for $2.077 million for law enforcement services with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014.
• Waived the sealed bid requirements and gave City Manager Mike Bonfield the green light to enter into a lease for two 2013 25-passenger buses from Midwest Transit. The deal is for 60 months at $1,358 per month. The two buses will be used by the Recreation Department for its growing after school and summer camp programs.
• Approved a special event application and street closure in connection with the inaugural Hot Summer Night Run Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 to 9 p.m. Closures will affect Gulf Boulevard and Pass-A-Grille Way from 16th Avenue to First Avenue. The event, which features 5K and 10K runs, will start and finish at the Hurricane Restaurant. Organizers from the Gulf Beaches Road Runners anticipate between 800 and 1,500 runners.
• Passed an ordinance on final reading that establishes within the city’s comprehensive plan a community redevelopment district that includes two major redevelopment areas and 11 designated character districts.
• Passed an ordinance on final reading that provides $934,006 to the Capital Projects Fund Improvement Fund. Projects covered include $22,500 for Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council related to Corey area improvements; sealing of City Hall windows, $20,330; Merry Pier repairs, $102,900; rehabilitation of fire stations, $329,745; purchase of a Pierce pumper fire truck, $399,131; and preliminary engineering services for Pass-A-Grille Way, $59,400.
• Updated the city’s personnel rules and regulations, changing workers comp coverage to meet the state minimum and consolidating sick leave into a single “paid time off” policy.
• Passed a resolution governing actions during City Commission meetings in an effort to maintain decorum.