CLEARWATER – From Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, the North American Vehicle Rescue Association will host the World Rescue Challenge at Coachman Park and in the Harborview Center parking lot.
It will be the first time that this annual international event will be held in North America.
Twenty-nine rescue teams of six to eight members each and 15 two-person trauma teams from 20 countries will compete in the extrication of mock accident victims from their wrecked vehicles.
“This is an international event,” said Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos. “It showcases the entire area.”
North American Vehicle Rescue Association officials estimate that people affiliated with the event will purchase 1,550 hotel room-nights, mostly on Clearwater Beach, and pump nearly $2 million into the local economy. Tourism officials are hoping that the participants who come for the competition will take a liking to the area and bring their families back for vacations.
As a co-sponsor of the event, the city of Clearwater will provide $8,155 of in-kind services and $25,173 in cash contributions, mostly from the budget of the city’s parks and recreation department.
City teams up with Habitat for Humanity to build home
CLEARWATER – The Clearwater City Council, on Oct. 16, unanimously approved a Community Housing Development Organization Agreement with Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity Community Housing Development Organization, Inc. Acting under the Home Investment Partnership Program, the city will reserve not less than 15 percent of its allocations to that program for housing developed, sponsored or owned by a Community Housing Development Organization.
“Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity Community Housing Development Organization, Inc. is a Florida not-for-profit organization established to provide decent housing that is affordable to low to moderate-income families and to further the affordable housing mission of Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County, Inc.,” according to an October 16 staff memo to the city council.
The council’s action last recertified Habitat for Humanity’s Community Housing Development Organization and committed the city to loan it $120,351 to build an affordable home at 1431 Park Street, in the blighted East Gateway District Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area.
School system to provide buses for field trips
CLEARWATER – With 130 field trips planned for the summer of 2014, Clearwater’s parks and recreation department needs lots of buses, and it’s cheaper to rent them than buy them. After getting proposals from private bus lines, the Clearwater City Council decided on Oct. 16 that the best option would be to renew its agreement with the Pinellas County School Board, which rents its buses to municipalities that want to take their residents on summer field trips. During the past year, Clearwater paid the school board approximately $25,000 for such trips.
The rates for next summer will be the same as the ones for this year. Each bus and driver costs $26.50 per hour, plus $1.25 per mile. There is a five-hour minimum.
“The Recreation Programming Division’s Operating Budget contains sufficient funds to cover the costs associated with this Agreement,” a staff memo to the council promised.
Childcare agreement renewed
CLEARWATER - Since 2000, the Juvenile Welfare Board has paid Clearwater to provide after school and summer programing for the children who might otherwise be at risk. The funds are channeled through the Coordinated Child Care organization.
“The program is designed to incorporate exercise and nutrition based activities in an after school and summer camp setting to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, improve social skills, increase athletic abilities, and develop leadership skills of the participants,” a staff memo explained. “Academic enhancement is also included in the program.”
The program, which also maintains safe havens for youths between 9 and 14 at the Ross Norton and North Greenwood recreation complexes, will be paid $17.16 per child per day next year. That’s up from $13.16 per day this year.
The program is expected to help approximately 100 children next year and cost about $175,000.