Blue jays to pitch spring training desires to the city
The Toronto Blue Jays will spend at least a month researching before they give the city a spring training facilities wish list and cost estimate, officials say.
The Jays have trained in Dunedin for 37 years but spent several months last year exploring a deal with the Houston Astros for a two-team complex in Palm Beach Gardens — an idea later quashed by community opposition.
Team officials cited the nearly 4-mile distance between the Dunedin practice facilities and stadium as the impetus for their search for a new home.
City staffers told commissioners last week that the Jays are now okay with a split-facility concept but want to add at least one full field to the stadium.
During talks between the city and Sen. Jack Latvala this spring, the 22-acre former Nielsen Media Research property at 375 Patricia Ave. emerged as a potential site for a new stadium.
But City Manager Rob DiSpirito told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that "it doesn't appear to be a real likely possibility," given the bank-owned parcel's $7 million price tag and Wells Fargo's ongoing negotiations with developers interested in the property.
The Jays have 3 ½ years left on their contract at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, plus two five-year renewal options.
Purple Heart ceremony set for next week
Dunedin, America's first Purple Heart city, will pay tribute Aug. 7 to the men and women wounded or killed while serving in the military.
The city's seventh annual Purple Heart Recognition Day starts at 10 a.m. at downtown Dunedin's Purple Heart Park, at 300 Main St. The celebration is free and open to the public.
The keynote speaker will be Purple Heart recipient Ray Calafell, membership chairman of the Special Operations Association and past secretary of Command Chapter 60 of the Special Forces Association.
Builders encouraged to add arty elements
City commissioners have decided that Dunedin will encourage the incorporation of either artwork or decorative architectural features into the design of both private and city construction projects.
The resolution was drafted by the Arts & Culture Advisory Committee. For publicly funded projects, a member of the volunteer citizen group will offer ideas on how to include art "to the extent that budgets allow."
Private developers will be encouraged to set aside part of project costs for an art element.
Visit dunedingov.com for information.
Domestic violence outreach hub opens
Religious Community Services planned to celebrate the opening of a new domestic violence outreach center at 1403 N Fort Harrison Ave. on Thursday.
The 4,400-square-foot center is built on the same site as RCS's old outreach facility, which was built in the 1930s, said president/CEO Caitlin Higgins Joy. She said the larger, more secure center will offer free, confidential legal aid, safety planning, counseling, prevention classes, professional training and other programs to about 17,000 individuals a year, reducing the need for more expensive shelter services.
For information, call (727) 441-2029, go to RCSpinellas.org or call RCS's 24-hour hotline at (727) 442-4128.
Chart a course for safe boating Aug. 9-10
Register now for "About Boating Safely,'' offered by U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1. The course will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 9 and 10 at Morton Plant Hospital, 455 Pinellas St. The cost is $35. For information contact Cheryl "Sisi" Little at (727) 469-8895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Runners ages 5 to 15 can go the distance
CSA Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation is offering a youth cross-country program as an extension of the "North City Track" program with Dunedin, Largo and Safety Harbor. The program, for children ages 5 to 15, will run from August through October, meeting the first Wednesday of each month. The cost is $45 for members of Palm Harbor Recreation; $55 for nonmembers. Visit csapalmharbor.org or call (727) 771-6000.
Times staff writers Keyonna Summers and Piper Castillo contributed to this report.
Truck damages community center
The city is in repair mode after a motorist mowed down a patio wall outside the Safety Harbor Community Center.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office says the incident happened about 7 p.m. Sunday.
According to authorities, Daniel Wayne Whitmore, 32, of Safety Harbor was asked to sit on a bench during a softball game. Instead, Whitmore got into his work-issued Ford Ranger pickup and headed east on Seventh Street S, witnesses told deputies. They soon heard a crash, officials said.
Whitmore has not been charged or ticketed.
City Manager Matt Spoor said officials are working with the company's insurance company to repair the damage.