EAST LAKE - This summer, East Lake Community Library will receive a state check: the first portion of the $1 million in state funds slated for its long-awaited building expansion.
“We’re still walking on air,” said library Director Lois Eannel recently. “It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks.”
Library staff and patrons had been waiting with fingers crossed as the state budget passed over the governor’s desk last month. This year, Eannel and others led a letter-writing campaign to rally community support for the expansion - a project that made it into state appropriations last year before the governor vetoed it.
OLDSMAR - Beginning Thursday, May 5, 8 p.m., Tampa Road, or State Road 584, will close at the railroad crossing just north of State Road 580 in Oldsmar, the Florida Department of Transportation reports.
This full road closure is necessary for CSX to replace the railroad crossing. Tampa Road is expected to reopen by Monday, May 9, 5 a.m., weather permitting.
During this closure, motorists will not be able to cross the tracks. Motorists on westbound Tampa Road, or State Road 584, will be detoured around the work zone using State Street, or State Road 580.
PALM HARBOR - The Palm Harbor Community Services Agency board had some of its questions answered regarding a $10,000 budget shortfall for Palm Harbor Library April 20.
Palm Harbor Library - as a member of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, or PPLC - receives a small portion of its revenue from the cooperative. The cooperative distributes a pot of library tax funds, collected from residents living in unincorporated areas outside of Palm Harbor and East Lake. Each library member receives a portion of those tax funds, based on a funding formula.
PPLC Director Cheryl Morales and Bill Berger, director of the Pinellas County Office of Management and Budget, attended the April 20 PHCSA board meeting to explain the formula and “all its mysteries and how it works,” Morales said. The formula was brought into question after Palm Harbor Library Director Gene Coppola discovered earlier this year that the library would have $10,000 less PPLC funds than he had budgeted for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.
EAST LAKE - The East Lake Woodlands Country Club, established in 1975, is undergoing a $1 million dollar transformation of its tennis, pool and fitness centers to provide its residents and surrounding communities with a resort-like experience.
The renovation includes a new Tennis Pro Shop and updated locker rooms, café with full bar and food service, six-hole mini golf, a splash pad, new pool furniture, new poolside cabanas and deck resurfacing.
In the Clubhouse, the fitness center will see a renovation as well, along with all new equipment and the latest fitness technology. A group exercise room is also being added for yoga, spin classes and a variety of other group exercise classes.
OLDSMAR - In just his second meeting back on city council April 5, council member Jerry Beverland is already trying to bring change to Oldsmar and improve the arts.
“In the past we had an employee working [the arts],” said City Manager Bruce Haddock. “We're working on next year's budget now, and that is going to include a part-time person. I don't think that's Mr. Beverland's item.”
Beverland said he wants to go beyond an employee and create an entire arts committee for Oldsmar.
OLDSMAR - City of Oldsmar mayor and council members attended the closed-to-the-public groundbreaking for the Empower Adventures Zip Line and Adventure Park at Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve March 17.
“When we posted this after our council meeting, we weren’t expecting the response that we got,” said Mayor Doug Bevis.
Alongside the council members, city manager and city attorney, as well as members of Empower Adventures, representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio were present.
OLDSMAR - The normally concise citizen’s open forum portion of Oldsmar city council meetings lasted almost two hours March 22, while council listened to residents angered over the lack of support for horses in the city.
The argument is not new to Oldsmar, and the renewed discussion over the equestrian situation in the city began with the already controversial zip line that is coming to Mobbly Bayou Preserve. A zip line is to be built, but horses were still not allowed in the area.
“The zip line that was approved to go in has absolutely nothing to do with our decision to allow or not allow horse riding in the Mobbly Bayou Preserve,” Mayor Doug Bevis said. “The impact to the preserve will be minimal.”
PALM HARBOR - Later this month, the Palm Harbor Library will have more definite answers as to why it received $10,000 less in funding from the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative this year - a decrease that library Director Gene Coppola was only recently made aware.
“We're stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he explained to the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency board March 16.
The PHCSA board has invited PPLC Executive Director Cheryl Morales and board member Bill Berger, who serves director of the Pinellas County Office of Management and Budget, to their next meeting April 20. They want to talk about the PPLC funding formula, which Coppola said is not designed to treat libraries that don't have a city government fairly.