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Jan. 22: North Pinellas community news


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Holiday Inn tower approved

A 10-story hotel tower for south Clearwater Beach received a green light from the Clearwater Community Development Board Tuesday.

In a 6-1 vote, the board approved the application of hotelier Jeff Keierleber to build the tower with 125 rooms on what is now a parking lot for his Holiday Inn property at 521 S Gulfview Blvd.

Chairman Thomas Coates said he appreciated how the tower's design broke the property into "chunks," preserving sight lines to the Gulf of Mexico.

But another board member, Don Van Weezel, voted against the project, saying he was "concerned about that wall effect" that would result from another tall building between the street and water. The board's action completes the approval process for the proposal, as it doesn't require City Council action.

'Dolphin Tale 2' traffic delays

Motorists trying to get to or from Clearwater Beach today should expect delays due to the filming of Dolphin Tale 2, say police. Traffic will slow from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., with the longest delays occurring between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., according to a news release from the Clearwater Police Department. Drivers seeking to avoid delays can take the Belleair Causeway.

Long Center Open House fun for kids and parents

Call it a play date for kids and grownups alike, as Clearwater hosts the Long Center Open House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

The free family event offers full-day use of the recreation center. Bring a swimsuit and ride the giant Aquaglide Rockit inflatable in the Olympic-size heated pool. The pool was featured in the movie Dolphin Tale. Staff and instructors will offer class demonstrations and answer questions.

Mayor George Cretekos and other city leaders will be there promoting the importance of wellness. During the event, participants can purchase an annual Play Pass at a discounted price. A Play Pass entitles the purchaser to access to all five Clearwater recreation centers and provides discounts to classes and programs.

The children's area will include a bounce house, and the first 100 visitors will receive a free gift from the Long Center. Each guest will receive a coupon from the Sports Authority. Additional prizes and games will be offered during the day.

The Long Center, at 1501 N Belcher Road, has more than 20,000 square feet of class and program space, including a triple gymnasium, eight multipurpose rooms, and a 3,000-square-foot fitness center. The Long Center maintains one of three 50-meter indoor pools in Florida as well as a 25-yard therapy pool. Outdoor amenities include two multipurpose fields, access to a hiking trail and a playground.

For more information about the Long Center Open House, call (727) 793-2320.


Dredging presentation Thursday

Dunedin city commissioners are slated to hear a presentation Thursday by Taylor Engineering, the firm hired to study the potential dredging of Lake Sperry and Cedar Creek.

Some residents who support the dredging say stormwater from upstream has caused flooding from trash and silt. Critics say dredging would benefit only a few private homeowners with boats. Taylor Engineering was hired to analyze the city's role and responsibilities in the sediment buildup, determine what dredging parameters various state agencies will allow and draw up cost estimates.

City staff is recommending that commissioners this week hear the firm's preliminary report and vote on how to proceed.

The City Commission meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 542 Main St. Visit to see documents up for discussion.

Hammock Park plans discussed

The public is invited to join the Friends of the Hammock of Dunedin as the volunteer group discusses its long-range management plan during its annual meeting.

The gathering is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Dunedin Community Center.

With fewer than 100 members, the passionate group has worked quietly for 20 years raising money to improve Hammock Park and also raise community awareness about the ecological importance of the 90-acre park, treasurer Pat Jennings said.

Its most recent projects include raising more than $26,000 to fund reforestation, creating a butterfly garden, removing invasive air potato plants, replacing aging informational kiosks, adding trail markers, plus an ongoing effort to replace deteriorating park benches.

On Thursday, volunteers will discuss improvements they can make to the park over the next 20 years.

Jennings said Hammock volunteers chipped in a quarter of the cost for Dunedin's $9,875 long-range report.

Rubio's staff to meet with public

Members of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio's staff will be at Clearwater City Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday to help residents with federal issues, including Social Security, Medicare, veteran's benefits or other federal programs or agencies.

Staff of Rubio's Gulf Coast Region Mobile Office will meet with residents in the second floor conference room at City Hall, 112 Osceola Ave. For more information, call the Gulf Coast Regional Office at (813) 977-6450.

Jan. 22: North Pinellas community news 01/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 6:25pm]
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