SEMINOLE — Right this way, right this way!
At its Nov. 8 meeting, the City Council voted 5-0 to hire Arnold Amusements of Riverview to provide carnival midway games and rides at the city’s Pow Wow Festival in 2023, 2024, and 2025. Council member Tom Christy, still recovering from a serious health issue, was absent from the meeting, and council member Roger Edelman also missed the session.
The Pow Wow Festival is the city’s biggest annual event, featuring acres of carnival rides, games, food and other attractions. The next festival is set for March 10-12, to be followed by Pow Wows on March 8-10, 2024, and March 8-10, 2025.
“Arnold Amusements agrees to provide a minimum of 21 rides (and) a maximum of 11 amusement/midway games,” according to the new agreement.
The contract stipulates that Arnold Amusements — the city’s longstanding provider of carnival services for the Pow Wow — will pay the city 30% of all gross receipts from the festival up to $20,000 and 32% of all gross revenue over that amount from all rides.
The vendor also will pay $150 per game and $225 per concession wagon.
The Pow Wow Festival is Seminole’s oldest civic event, predating the city’s incorporation by three years when conceived in1967 as a fundraiser for Seminole High School. The event had to be canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
There once was also a Pow Wow Parade coinciding with the festival. But the city’s Recreation Department has decided against holding that in the future and instead will focus on next month’s Waterless Holiday Boat Parade.
Concerns for Christy
Meantime, Christy’s absence from a fifth successive council meeting prompted a brief exchange among council members, City Manager Ann Toney-Deal and City Attorney Jay Daigneault.
Daigneault said the city charter would require Christy to step down if he missed three successive meetings without his fellow council members voting to excuse his absences. They did that for the four previous absences, but there was some indication such support might not continue.
“We can’t keep doing this forever,” council member Trish Springer said.
Among a few other items on the evening’s relatively light agenda — most involving routine housekeeping matters — the council voted 5-0 to appoint council member Chris Burke to the board of Forward Pinellas, the county’s land use and transportation planning agency.
Vice Mayor Jim Olliver sits on the board of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, the county’s public transit provider, and council member Thom Barnhorn is on the board of the six-county Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
Burke, who volunteered to serve in the post, noted he’s due to retire from the Largo Police Department soon.
“I’ll have a lot more time on my hands at the end of the month,” he said, smiling. “It dovetails nicely with my retirement.”
Council also approved on first reading and without dissent ordinances authorizing voluntary annexations of three properties located on unincorporated county land.
Those include properties at 9366 Ridge Road, owned by Leslie Harvey; one at 11211 102nd Avenue, owned by Timothy Hawkins and William Paul; and another at 10787 64th Avenue, owned by Sean Ellman.
Work finally has begun on the city’s much-discussed strategic planning project.
Council members, city staff and invited community representatives convened in a conference center on St. Petersburg College-Seminole’s campus for a pair of sessions stretching over Oct. 28-29.
Agenda items for the brainstorming retreat included topics such as quality of life, infrastructure needs, financial and general operations, and community partnership. The aim is to draw up a formal strategic plan for the city, sketching its civic vision for the next five to 10 years.
Andrea Henning, executive director of the college’s Collaborative Labs, served as the facilitator of the discussions.
The first sessions were to be held in August until an outbreak of COVID-19 among a few of the would-be participants prompted a two-month delay. Now, those who participated in the first sessions will look forward to reconvening — likely sometime in February — to discuss “next steps,” Mayor Leslie Waters said.
This will be Seminole’s first strategic plan for well over a decade. Area municipalities boasting up-to-date strategic plans include Largo, Treasure Island, Tarpon Springs and others.
The mayor noted that Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole’s eighth annual Field of Honor is now flying high in front of City Hall and the adjacent U.S. Post Office.
The patriotic event features the flying of hundreds of American flags adorned with ribbons honoring individual veterans. The flags are sponsored by area residents, businesses and organizations and will be on display all month. This year’s field of honor had to be capped at 500 flags after the devoted acreage was filled.
And in another bit of civic pride, a contingent from the Friends of Seminole Library was on hand to make its annual donation — a big $15,500 this year — to the city and its library operations.
“That’s a lot of dollar-book sales,” Waters beamed, referring to the Friends’ used-bookstore concession at the library.
The group also hosts a silent auction fundraising event.