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50th anniversary
Belleair Bluffs plans founding celebration
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A preliminary design of the Belleair Bluffs 50th Anniversary seal.
BELLEAIR BLUFFS – A year-long series of events is being considered to commemorate the founding of the city of Belleair Bluffs 50 years ago. Ideas for the anniversary celebration were talked about at the Jan. 14 City Commission workshop.

Commissioner Taylour Shimkus will chair a planning committee to coordinate the activities. Members will include the entire commission, except Mayor Chris Arbutine, plus City Clerk Debra Sullivan, Public Works Director Robert David and City Attorney Thomas Trask. All meetings will be open to the public. The goal is to kick off the celebratory events in March.

The committee has to come up with a celebration plan quickly, Shimkus said. She told the commission, “We need a list of what we want to do.”

Mayor Chris Arbutine said he favored “multiple events that celebrate the 50th anniversary all year long.”

“We need multiple dollars to have multiple events,” City Clerk/Finance Director Debra Sullivan responded.

The commission agreed to set up a budget dedicated to the birthday activities.

Among the ideas suggested was a 50th anniversary parade held on the Fourth of July, when the city traditionally does a party at the city hall/community center. The city’s last parade was held about 13 years ago, David said. Having an anniversary event in connection with the annual Christmas party was another idea put forth.

A preliminary design of an official anniversary seal was circulated at the meeting. Street banners were mentioned and a brochure on the city’s history.

Commission members were enthusiastic about promoting Belleair Bluffs’ anniversary with a year-long birthday party, and they agreed to come up with event ideas.

“This is going to be a fun project,” said Commissioner Suzy Sofer.

Fire station designs presented, but project is stalled

The commission saw architectural concepts for the new fire station to be built on property adjoining city hall, but the project appears at a halt due to funding issues.

Of the three design options shown, only one would work, Sullivan said. That one allows more sound buffering for neighboring residences by putting the station building as close to the center of the property as possible, and placing the living quarters toward the back.

One of the other options, which Sullivan said is not going to work, places the garage bays on Lentz Avenue, nearer the residents.

A third option, apparently favored by the fire department, does not work as well for the city, Sullivan said.

David said he has some issues with parking spaces as shown on the designs.

Money to build the station is also an issue, Arbutine said.

“Largo’s pushing for it, they want it, but the county’s holding back on the funding,” he said.

Arbutine said there have been no costs assigned to the fire station building and, as a result, little movement forward on the project.

“Someone needs to start making decisions on the money. The building needs to start moving forward,” Arbutine said. “I want to make (the station) a reality.”

Garage sale, antique show set

Dates were set for the Antique Alley show and citywide garage sale weekends, the city’s major spring and fall events.

The garage sales will take place on Saturday, March 9 and Nov. 16, with the antique shows following on Sunday. Garage sale hours will be lengthened to 3 p.m. this year, due to requests by some residents.
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