DUNEDIN - In recent years, opinions about new development in the community have flowed as freely as the beer in the city’s many downtown haunts.
From multimillion-dollar mixed-use projects to new breweries and enhanced streetscaping, growth has bolstered tax coffers and increased downtown activity, but it also has posed challenges for city officials - such as how to preserve downtown’s ambiance and ensure that adequate parking areas are available to residents and visitors.
Discussions continue on development issues, such as architectural standards.
Ennis, William “Bill” E., age 89 of Dunedin, FL., passed June 20, 2017 while under Hospice Care.
A WWII Veteran and former homebuilder from Danvers Massachusetts, Bill and family moved to Dunedin in 1957. He was an enduring resident in the Dunedin Isles brick road neighborhood.
He’s joined his wife Jacqueline, predeceased, on what would have been their 64th wedding anniversary. Throughout the mid 1970’s and 1980’s, he was an active member of his Dunedin community, performing various volunteer work. At the Dunedin Marina, he restored non-seaworthy sailing pram vessels that were put back into commission for the children’s sailing program and Windlasses sailing group.
DUNEDIN - As a star infielder for Lakewood High, Bo Bichette played at Spectrum Field and Florida Auto Exchange Stadium against rivals like Largo and Dunedin high schools, and he still has fond memories of those games.
In fact, they’re still fresh in his mind, as the 19-year-old is just one year removed from his playing days with the Spartans.
Today Bichette, the 2016 Gatorade and USA Today Florida Player of the Year, is playing in those ballparks as one of the hottest prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system. The son of former Major Leaguer Dante Bichette was selected in the second round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, number 66 overall. After a solid season in the rookie league last fall and a spectacular start in low Single-A ball this year, where he hit .384 with 10 homers and 51 RBI in 70 games, the Orlando native was recently promoted to high Single-A Dunedin in the Florida State League.
DUNEDIN - The city’s tax rate remains at 4.13 mills under the proposed $166.4 million city budget as increased property values bring in more revenue.
Interim City Manager Doug Hutchens said in the executive summary of the budget that the growth in the city’s taxable value, 9.71 percent, and that of the community redevelopment district, 25.8 percent, exceeded rates seen in most other municipalities as well as the county as a whole.
Hutchens said there are many factors on the horizon that will have a lasting impact on the city and its financial future. The most significant event will be the appointment of a new city manager this summer.
DUNEDIN - City commissioners June 26 offered the position of city manager to a Coral Springs administrator, touting her energy level, skills and ability to communicate with the community.
City officials will now start salary negotiations with Jennifer Bramley, 52, the deputy manager of Coral Springs, who was selected over the other top candidate, Kevin Cowper, the assistant city manager of Auburn, Alabama.
Commissioners’ initial ballot was 4-1 for Bramley, but the final vote to hire her was unanimous, ending weeks of interviews and discussions with applicants. The city had received 75 applications for the position.
DUNEDIN - Over the past several months developers of a proposed downtown mixed-use project got an earful from residents who complained about its design and other elements. So they went back to the drawing board.
They decided to engage community groups and officials in the discussions to get direction on what they would like to see on the property in the middle of downtown, at Main Street and Douglas Avenue.
They also hired the Lunz Group and Dunedin-based architect Jim Graham to oversee the design of the Courtyard on Main at Douglas Avenue and Main Street.
DUNEDIN - If all goes according to plans, in the next 10 months or so the marble image of a lovely lady will grace a downtown city park.
And not to worry - she will be family friendly.
The Suncoast Stone Sculptors Guild plans to donate a sculpture called “Imagine in Stone” to the city. Once completed by sculptor C. Fulton, it will be moved from the Creative Arts Building to Wee Garth Park, at Main Street and Virginia Lane.
In approving the sculpture, which will have a value of about $30,000, city commissioners June 15 approved the project and agreed to pay for the concrete footing, sculpture pedestal and lighting at a cost of about $6,500.
DUNEDIN - The Taoist Tai Chi Society plans to transfer the western 3.358 acres of its property on Edgewater Drive to a company that plans to build a boutique hotel.
Commissioners approved an amendment to a development agreement June 15 allowing Mainsail Fenway Hotel LLLP to acquire the property. The Tai Chi Society will maintain ownership of the eastern 1.838 acres.
The property is located on the eastern side of Edgewater Drive between Locklie and Lyndhurst streets. The society is in the process of redeveloping a portion of the property and restoring the existing main building of the Fenway Hotel.
DUNEDIN - School is out, the temperatures are in the high-90s, and that means one thing - parents are looking for ways to help their kids beat the heat.
For Dunedin residents, and those in surrounding communities, one surefire way to beat the heat on the cheap is to visit the Kiwanis Sprayground, located at the Highlander Aquatic Complex on Michigan Avenue.
According to aquatics center supervisor Alicia Castricone, the sprayground, which recently underwent a $100,000 renovation, has been an immensely popular attraction since it opened in 2009, due to its central location, vigilant supervision and because it’s always been free to use.
DUNEDIN - To most people, McDonald’s is a quick place to grab breakfast on the way to work or a no-fuss place to feed the kids dinner.
But for Diana Messerschmidt, those golden arches are lifelines. They rescued her and her young daughter from life in a motel room; provided a place to rest while her child was hospitalized; and even gifted her with the love of her life.
Most recently, the restaurant chain celebrated Messerschmidt by naming her McDonald’s Regional Crew Person of the Year for Florida. She is one of only 24 employees across the nation to receive the award.
DUNEDIN - The Restorative is a neighborhood restaurant now open at 420 Patricia Ave.
The Restorative is constantly creating new dishes. Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday 5 to 9 p.m. A small lunch service is offered Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The dining room displays the work of local artists.
DUNEDIN - City commissioners plan to interview four applicants June 12 for the position of city manager.
They are Kevin Cowper, assistant city manager, Auburn, Alabama; Jamie Croteau, management services director, Boca Raton; Michael Rankin, deputy city manager, Leesburg, and Jennifer Bramley, deputy city manager, city of Coral Springs.
City commissioners selected the four officials from a list of eight candidates recommended by S. Renee Narloch & Associates, the executive search consulting firm for the process.
DUNEDIN - When Achieva Credit Union was first formed in 1937, nearly half of America’s banks had failed amid the Great Depression. Nevertheless, seven Pinellas County educators pooled together $99.25 to create a new credit union for teachers.
Today, 80 years later, Achieva serves more than 140,000 members in 10 counties and has more than $1.4 billion in assets.
Achieva has not only grown in size, it has also built a reputation for innovative leadership and as a great place to work. As Achieva enters its ninth decade, some things have changed but others have not. The size and technology behind a modern credit union would stun its founding members, but they would recognize the culture, according to Gary Regoli, Achieva CEO.
DUNEDIN - A display at the Dunedin Public Library features a sculpture of the American Flag made of approximately 1,500 cans. The tribute is designed to reflect the gratitude of the nation.
“We remain forever indebted to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their unmatched bravery and heroism. We join a grateful nation in paying tribute to these American heroes who so willingly sacrificed themselves, never stopping to think about the price they were paying,” said a news release form Dunedin Cares, which operates a food pantry in the community. “The flag is a reminder that no member of the American Armed Forces, wherever he or she serves or wherever he or she has fallen is forgotten. All who serve are our heroes.”