Sunday, November 19, 2017
Business

Safety Harbor residents offer 'do' and 'don't' suggestions for downtown

RECOMMENDED READING


SAFETY HARBOR — Although many residents would like to see a large grocery store like a Fresh Market or a Publix downtown, it is just not in the cards, according to City Manager Matt Spoor. But the community could see a smaller grocer somewhere on Main Street in the not-so-distant future.

"Our blocks are not large enough for some of those chains. A 24,000-square-foot grocer with a parking lot for 100 spaces is not going to fit in downtown,'' Spoor said. "But what will fit is a mom and pop style market.''

A market, a hardware store, a bike shop, a book store, a well-known name brand boutique to entice the younger generation, a bait and tackle shop and even a kitchen-gadget store, are all on the wish lists of community members. Recently, the city conducted the "Downtown Use Survey,'' gathering input from residents on what they want downtown. The more than 400 responses were much what city officials expected — both the requests and the criticisms. Along with bringing in businesses to help add to that feeling that Safety Harbor is a place to live, work and play, the survey brought home apprehensions — a concern for over-development, parking challenges and too-tall buildings.

Drafted by Spoor and community development director Marcie Stenmark, the survey was done with "the intent to use it as a tool for the bigger picture discussions on downtown,'' Spoor said.

Criticisms included too many bars, not enough gift shops and even too many hair salons, including: "Less bars. Less hair places,'' "Sooo many salons,'' and "No more hair salons. No more chain stores. No more building of high density apartments.''

Spoor pointed out that when it comes to the community's concerns surrounding the size of buildings, they can rest easier perhaps knowing officials must adhere to the downtown master plan, created in 1992. It caps the majority of buildings at two stories or 35-feet tall, although the area of the district closest to the Safety Harbor Spa allows buildings up to 65 feet.

"So I think the downtown master plan adequately reflects those opinions to see smaller, not taller buildings,'' Spoor said.

Several organizations helped provide input on what to include on the survey, including the Merchants of Safety Harbor and the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Susan Petersen, executive director of the Chamber, like Spoor, was not surprised by many of the answers and she too expects that the feedback will help with the city's next steps.

And like Spoor, she also expected that a grocer would be a top priority for residents.

"The feedback definitely shows our residents would like to see a market and a source of fresh produce, healthy food downtown. They would like to be able to do things here, things they could achieve without getting in a car,'' she said. "Along with the survey, the success of the Sunday Morning Market is also an indicator of what people are looking for.''

Another popular request is to make Safety Harbor more of a destination for non-residents.

"I love Safety Harbor but would really like to see more places that would draw people to the town, especially restaurants,'' was one entry.

"Make our oasis a destination,'' was another.

One non-resident downtown on a recent day had his own suggestion:

"I would suggest that businesses stay open past 5 p.m.,'' said Ray Jones of Clearwater as he stood outside of a closed shop one block off Main Street at 5:15 p.m.

"Stay open later for tourists. That's what I'd say if they asked me to fill out the survey. ''

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Search suspended for missing Cortez boater who left from Egmont Key

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing 63-year-old boater on Sunday evening, two days after he and his dog were reported missing 5 miles northwest of Mead Point, just inland from Anna Maria Island.On Friday, Fraser Horne of Cortez le...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

Parents, children welcome downsized MOSI in Tampa

TAMPA — Avery, 6, slid his sneakers up the side of 200-pound rubber tire from the space shuttle Columbia and sat on top.His father, Ilder Jeannot, called for him to get off of it — usually climbing on museum displays is frowned upon. But in the new M...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Sunday Conversation: Tona Bell invites customers to enjoy a ‘digital detox’

Like so many small businesses, Saturday will represent a special day for Paper Seahorse owner Tona Bell. Bell’s cozy bungalow business at 211 S Howard features paper and stationery, specialty pens, vintage typewriters and crafts classes. It will offe...
Published: 11/17/17
Updated: 11/19/17
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Published: 11/17/17
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Published: 11/17/17
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Published: 11/17/17
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Published: 11/17/17
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Published: 11/17/17
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Published: 11/17/17