Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Proposed Caladesi Discovery Center would provide miles of island views

DUNEDIN — Atop the 25-foot observation deck, Caladesi Island visitors could admire an expanse of wildflowers, mangroves, white sand and glittering ocean. "Real Florida," supporters say.

The proposed Caladesi Discovery Center — a three-story, open-air, lumber and concrete tower with a central elevator — wouldn't just provide great views. It would also educate locals and travelers about the largely undeveloped island's history, flora and fauna, said Cindy Farris, president of Friends of Island Parks. It would include seasonal educational exhibits.

"The facility will allow visitors to learn more about what they're seeing and the ground they're standing on," said Farris, a Chicago native who, years ago, celebrated her first Florida New Year's Eve on the island. "It will provide a great practical lesson in the topography of our coast."

Caladesi Island is a state park directly north of Clearwater Beach. It is undeveloped except for a ferry dock, concession stand and gift shop.

The discovery center project has garnered support from the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce and community leaders. One obstacle: It would cost about $500,000, Farris estimates. Around $150,000 would fund the educational exhibits.

Farris believes Friends of Island Parks has raised more than $100,000. Tampa Bay artists, including the noted artist Christopher Still, have donated custom-framed, nature-themed prints to big sponsors.

Farris also wants to install a donation box on Caladesi Island asking for $1 from each visitor. The island annually attracts around 250,000 people.

Some detractors worry the construction of the observation tower would increase the ecological footprint on land that's only accessible by a long walk from Clearwater Beach or ferry. But the discovery center would be built over the old demolished fire tower near the ranger's station, Farris said, therefore not breaking new ground.

Caladesi Island State Park manager Pete Krulder said the discovery center would help people appreciate the wildlife and be inspired to preserve it.

"It would create a new visitor experience and teach people about all the beautiful plants and animals," said Krulder, who calls Caladesi his "favorite place in the world."

"It wouldn't develop the island. If anything, it'd protect it."

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Lightning-Devils: How the NHLís top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHLís top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachevís playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachevís playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bayís clinching 3-1 victory in Game 3

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bayís clinching 3-1 victory in Game 3

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nikita Kucherovís goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherovís goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

A 49-year-old woman died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Charles Avenue, a Clearwate...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

Lightning wins 3-1, advances to the semifinals

TAMPA — The Lightning closed out its quarterfinal series against the Devils with a suffocating defensive effort.The Devils finally solved Andrei Vasilevskiy in the waning moments with goalie Cory Schneider on the bench and the Devils skati...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Shaquem Griffin: ĎIím not just a feel-good storyí

Shaquem Griffin: ĎIím not just a feel-good storyí

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely able to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother, S...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

The first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Updated: 4 hours ago