LARGO — Pinellas County commissioners gave unanimous approval Feb. 9 to three funding agreements, including one that improves the county’s shelter capacity, another which helps with the local fight against the opioid epidemic and a third to enhance the seawall at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor.
The approval of the MOU with the Pinellas County School Board provides funding of nearly $1.57 million to enhance and retrofit several schools, including Carwise Middle School, East Lake High School, Fairmount Park Elementary School, Gibbs High School, John Hopkins Middle School, McMullen Booth Elementary School, Palm Harbor Middle School, Palm Harbor University, Sanderlin Elementary School and Sexton Elementary School.
Funding will come from the county’s Capital Improvement Program, Emergency and Disaster Projects.
The enhancements and retrofits will increase the county’s hurricane shelter capacity and capability including more capacity for pet sheltering.
A funding agreement with Operation PAR for the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant and Substance Abuse Site-based Program will support the work between Pinellas County Human Services and Safety and Emergency Management to enhance response to overdoses.
An amount not to exceed $1.194 million will be provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance grant program with an annual estimated expenditure of $398,221. No local match is required.
A grant agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation supports the Philippe Park seawall enhancement project through the National Coastal Resilience Fund.
The grant provides funding of $130,000 from NRWF and NCRF with a matching contribution of $196,000 from the county. Total cost is $326,000.
The county’s match includes $144,000 in cash from an existing agreement with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, $9,000 in capital funding and $43,000 in in-kind services from Public Works.
The project’s focus is baseline water quality and wave energy monitoring, site assessment and preliminary design of about 2,850 linear feet of seawall enhancement/living shoreline options at Philippe Park.
Commissioner Karen Seel asked for information about the living shoreline. Kelli Levy, Public Works director, said the seawall enhancement would depend on an analysis of its condition. She said some areas were in need of repair; however, the seawall is nonexistent on the south end.
She said one of the options was to build mini T-groins to increase the sand and stop erosion. They would be built incorporating natural materials such as limestone or shells.
She said a small community seawall had been constructed in Ozona using the same principle.
“It’s really neat,” she said.
In other business, the commissioners approved a resolution to issue multifamily housing revenue bonds to finance the demolition, rehabilitation and construction of Jordan Park Apartments in St. Petersburg.
The project includes demolition of 31 units, substantial rehabilitation of 206 existing family units and construction of 60 units of senior housing at 1245 Jordan Park St, which will replace the 31 units to be demolished.
All the units are public housing and residents pay 30% of their income toward rent. All current residents will be relocated either temporarily or permanently with all qualified residents having the option to return to Jordan Park after the work is completed.
The project is expected to take 14 months for the senior building and 16-187 months for the rehabilitation of the family units. The cost is estimated at more than $71.579 million.
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.