Make us your home page
Instagram

Gulfport seeks bed tax dollars for beach renourishment

CLEARWATER — In an unusual request, a city that isn't actually on the gulf is requesting a share of bed tax money for beach renourishment.

Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson appeared before the Tourist Development Council on Wednesday morning to request roughly $500,000 to replenish the sand on a 300-yard stretch of bayside beach. The mayor spoke passionately about his city of 12,000 clawing its way into a tourist circle usually occupied by its more affluent gulfside neighbors.

"What Gulfport is doing right now is basically becoming a part of greater Pinellas County tourism," Henderson said, telling the board that the city is having trouble providing enough parking for tourists who leave their beach resorts to visit Gulfport's thriving restaurant and bar scene.

Henderson would know — he gave the board a good laugh when he said he has been bartending as a "lucrative side project" and could attest to the atmosphere's draw.

Andy Squires, Pinellas' environmental services manager, talked about the city's need, particularly to the stretch west of the Gulfport Casino. There is precedent to funding a bayside beach renourishment project, Squires said, as the tourism council gave Gulfport more than $200,000 about 15 years ago.

Since then, Gulfport has used state and city funds to replenish what it can, but Henderson said they "don't have as many options as the gulf beaches."

There was a consensus among board members that a need exists; however, they were hesitant to shell out money without considering the consequences.

"How do you turn down the next guy knocking at the door?" asked board member Tony Satterfield, a St. Petersburg beach hotel executive.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who is on the council, agreed with concerns about setting a dangerous precedent, but noted if visitors and locals alike were treating the Gulfport sand strip as a legitimate beach destination, then they should, too.

Henderson said he would like the beach replenished within three to five years.

The discussion ended with no explicit objections to funding Gulfport's beach renourishment, but council members stopped short of officially approving it. They want more concrete evidence — beyond the mayor's bartending testament — of a tourism uptick in the area.

Henderson said he would provide that information.

Karen Seel, who chairs both the tourism council and the Pinellas County Commission, said she fully anticipates the board will approve the project by December, when her term expires.

Katie Mettler can be reached at kmettler@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8913. Follow her on Twitter @kemettler.

Gulfport seeks bed tax dollars for beach renourishment 05/21/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 11:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls

    Retail

    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
[JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Times]
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business

    Corporate

    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]