CLEARWATER - Officials of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium unveiled plans Aug. 22 for a new downtown facility. Now the race is on to raise the money to pay for it.
At a news conference at the current facility, board member Frank Hibbard explained that $68 million is the total bill for the new facility, and $30 million of that must be in hand before any ground breaking can take place.
Originally, when the plans for the new aquarium were announced, the price tag was set at $130 million dollars. That was soon re-estimated downward to $100 million, and now the final $68 million.
CLEARWATER - The public is invited to a Friday, Aug. 29, 8:30 a.m. groundbreaking ceremony for the Countryside Library's new facility next to the Countryside Recreation Center, 2640 Sabal Springs Dr.
The event will proceed on schedule regardless of weather.
The 22,500-square-foot facility that was designed by Harvard Jolly Architects will be built by Ajax Construction of Oldsmar. The $7.1-million price tag will be funded by Penny for Pinellas dollars with additional assistance for furnishings and amenities from the Clearwater Library Foundation.
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater City Council on Aug. 20 approved a $750,000 cooperative funding agreement with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and awarded a $199,876 contract to URS Corporation for doing the work. Both measures pertain to a project to bring reclaimed water to homes that want it but do not currently have it, and the city and SFWMD have agreed to split the $1.5 million cost of the project.
“The goal of this and all other reclaimed water projects is to reduce the amount of potable water and groundwater being used for irrigation and other nonpotable uses,” a staff memo to the council explained. “In addition, expansion of the Reclaimed Water Distribution System in accordance with (the) Reclaimed Water Master Plan brings the city of Clearwater closer to achieving zero-discharge of effluent to Tampa Bay and adjacent surface waters.”
Users of the reclaimed water from the project will be 11 residences along Jasmine Way, 24 on Parkwood Street, four on Carlos Avenue, 17 along Druid Road and four on Drew Street. Ninety-four residences, including all of the Forest Wood Estates subdivision and two adjacent properties, will benefit from the project. And there will be nine lawn meters in the Imperial Cove Condominiums, located at 19209 U.S. 19 N.
CLEARWATER - Curves International Inc., a chain of fitness centers for women, recently announced that participating Curves will host an open house the week of Sept. 15-20, and new members can receive 30 days free with enrollment fee, in addition to a free workout. Some restrictions apply.
The open house week provides women with the opportunity to check out their local “all new” Curves and take some important “me time” for themselves.
During the open house week, new members will have the opportunity to work out for free on the Curves circuit, including experiencing Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels, which are full body workouts that change each month. Those who join that day will receive 30 days free on their membership. In addition, participating Curves locations will offer free health assessments, healthy snacks and other raffles and giveaways in celebration of the open house.
CLEARWATER - The on-again, off-again plan to build a high-rise parking garage at the Pelican Walk Plaza shopping center on Mandalay Avenue in the North Beach business district of Clearwater Beach, took a giant step forward on Aug. 20. By a unanimous vote, the Clearwater City Council gave the green light to the project, which has been under discussion for more than a decade.
The public/private deal calls for Safety Harbor-based Paradise Group LLC to construct a seven-story parking garage on a 0.94-acre parking lot adjacent to the Pelican Walk shopping center. The city would then buy 450 of the structure’s 642 spaces for $11.3 million. Most of those spaces would then be rented to tourists on an hourly basis, although some of them might be leased to nearby businesses for employee parking. The remaining 192 spaces would belong to the Paradise Group to “be apportioned as the developer chooses between leased and hourly parking, subject to a parking management plan acceptable to the City,” according to a staff memo to the Clearwater City Council.
In addition, the 0.94-section of the Pelican Walk property would house 11,482 square feet of retail and service space. The remaining 0.74 acres of the site would continue to house the Pelican Walk shopping center.
CLEARWATER - A 68-year-old man drowned in a residential pool at a condominium complex in unincorporated Clearwater Thursday, Aug. 21.
Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies responded to 3400 Cove Kay Drive about 11:07 p.m., according to the sheriff’s report.
According to deputies, Rodney Williamson was swimming in the residential pool within the Cove Cay condo complex at about 10:55 p.m. A neighbor located Williamson in the water unresponsive, pulled him from the water with the assistance of a security guard and called 911.
CLEARWATER - Forty years ago, when Clearwater established its rules regarding the fees for using the city’s recreational facilities, the word “family” was universally recognized to mean the household patriarch, his wife and their kids.
But all that changed on June 7, 2012, when the city instituted its Domestic Partnership Registry, which also can be used for same-sex couples. And the city is trying to bring its recreational fees in line with the fact that today’s family doesn’t always look like a Father Knows Best rerun.
“In order to serve the public in a fair and equitable way in terms of establishing fee structures for recreation cards and play passes, the Parks and Recreation Department has for the past 40 years established department policies to define and regulate these fees,” according to a staff memo given to Clearwater City Council members preparing for their Aug. 18 work session. “These definitions appear in all city promotional materials and most notably the ‘My Clearwater’ magazine.
CLEARWATER - In an effort to save energy, Clearwater - with help from Duke Energy - is converting its streetlights to LED.
The project is now underway and will last for 15 months, where Duke Energy contractors will replace all of the city’s 11,290 existing streetlights from standard incandescent bulbs to Light Emitting Diode - LED - that produce the same amount of light.
When the project is complete, the city’s entire street lighting network will be converted to smarter technology at no additional cost to the city.
CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater’s public utilities department is proud to receive a Future of the Region award from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. The second-place award in the public education category recognizes the successes of the North Pinellas Municipal Utilities Forum’s Meeting of the Minds group, which is a small group of utility professionals from the surrounding cities in northern Pinellas that is chaired by the city.
The prestigious award recognizes projects and programs that exemplify regionalism and outstanding achievement that benefit the Tampa Bay area. The Meeting of the Minds group meets monthly for lunch around the area and has held discussions on more than 100 topics relating to public utilities and public works industries.
“There’s nothing like having an arsenal of resources and a broad knowledge base to tap quickly, in close proximity, and knowing the integrity of the people from whom you are gleaning information,” said Tracy Mercer, public utilities director. “Meeting of the Minds members enjoy the opportunity to collaborate and we’re all thrilled to have been a part of receiving this award.”
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater Aging Well Center, 1501 N. Belcher Road in the Long Center will host a number of special creative classes and programs during September. Preregistration is recommended. Call 724-3070. Events include the following:
- Story Circle: Your Significant Story - Friday, Sept. 5, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Carole Simmons will moderate an interactive national model writing group focusing on penning life experiences and sharing them. Beginners are welcome to the free event.
- Timeline Memoirs - Part of the Artistic Modalities series, this Tuesday, Sept. 9 seminar, 2 to 4:30 p.m., provides artistic ways to recapture and express significant moments of your life. Personal insights are gained through visual art, writing and sharing in the creative process.
Labor Day poolside picnic LARGO – Bring the family and a blanket and enjoy your own picnic basket by the pool, during an extended three-hour session at Highland Family Aquatic Center Monday, Sept. 1, noon to 3 p.m.
Enjoy a special family and friends discount admission. Do not bring alcohol or glass into the facility. Splash’s Snack Bar will be open.
Madeira Beach Social Club meeting MADEIRA BEACH – Madeira Beach Social Club meets the first Monday each month at 1 p.m. at Madeira Beach City Hall. Everyone is invited to join the festivities, refreshments and entertainment. In addition to its monthly meetings, club members get together for bridge, canasta and trips to local attractions.
Members do not have to live in Madeira Beach. Membership dues are $10 a year. Call Dianne for more information at 397-3434.
MLK Neighborhood Center Coalition planning sessions CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition hosts weekly planning sessions every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1201 Douglas Ave. It also hosts a neighborhood community market each fourth Saturday, with the June market set for the 28th.
The Community Outreach Team invites people to join them in making phone calls or writing letters to the residents in the neighborhood surrounding the center to inspire neighbors with the progress that is being made.
Qi Gong meditation classes ST. PETE BEACH – Weekly Qi Gong moving meditation classes are held Tuesdays, 8:30 to 10 a.m., at the Warren Webster Center, 1500 Pass-A-Grille Way.
The cost is $10 per class.
Classes are lead by acupuncture physician Joyce Lockwood who studied Qi Gong in China and
is certified as a Qi Gong practice leader in the U.S. through the Institute of Integral Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates slow graceful movements, breathing techniques and deep relaxation.
SEMINOLE - American Legion Post 252, 11433 Park Blvd., offers a monthly spaghetti dinner the first Tuesday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m. The dining room is open to the public. Legion membership is required to purchase alcohol. For more information, call 391-6324.