Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Work delays reopening of beach at Fred Howard Park

Rusting metal and cracking concrete on one of the causeway’s bridges were visible in August 2008 at Fred Howard Park. The park’s popular beach is the northernmost in Pinellas County.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Rusting metal and cracking concrete on one of the causeway’s bridges were visible in August 2008 at Fred Howard Park. The park’s popular beach is the northernmost in Pinellas County.

TARPON SPRINGS — The reopening of Fred Howard Park's popular beach, originally planned for this fall, has been delayed until at least Dec. 8 as crews continue to rebuild the mile-long connecting causeway.

It has been more than a year since Pinellas County's northernmost beach closed on Sept. 2, 2008, its two 41-year-old bridges in need of reconstruction. An engineering decision to repave the causeway and beach parking lot while crews were already on site, instead of planning another closure next year, extended the work, said Paul Cozzie, the county's culture, education and leisure director.

Crews finished the bridges' construction earlier this year but continue to repair the causeway's concrete embankments and to install guardrails and handrails. Laying new asphalt will come last and add another $600,000 to the $4.8 million in reconstruction costs, said county spokeswoman Mary Burrell.

After the construction work, parks workers will reinstall toilets, trash cans and bathroom sinks removed last year to deter potential vandals. Depending on how long the restoration takes and the weather — rain could delay repaving — the beach may reopen as late as mid December.

(For the record, the beach has seen no vandalism during its closure, Cozzie said — just birdwatchers and boaters admiring the natural solitude.)

Though the entrance to the causeway is barricaded, the park's butterfly garden, kayak waterways, playgrounds and shelters remain open to the public.

More than 2 million people last year visited the 155-acre park, which juts into the Gulf of Mexico.

Though Cozzie does not expect that the beach will see a grand reopening, calling it a "frill" not easily afforded with the county's tight budget, park visitors on Thursday said having their beach back would be cause for celebration.

"It should have been open in September," said James Browntree, 17, a Tarpon Springs High School student who skipped class Thursday to relax at the park with three friends.

Since the closure, he said, kids his age have turned to Sunset Beach and Honeymoon Island State Park for swimming and sunbathing. But they're not the same.

"This is like the best beach spot," he said. "It's a good place for kids to go and hang out."

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Work delays reopening of beach at Fred Howard Park 10/09/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 9, 2009 7:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Reschedule, regroup, recharge: Ways to spend the weekend after Irma

    Features

    Well, it's safe to say some of your recent weekend plans got disrupted.

  2. Pasco School Board suggests moving slowly with Ridgewood High

    K12

    LAND O'LAKES — Pasco County School Board members appeared Tuesday to put the brakes on an aggressive plan to transform Ridgewood High School into a technical education campus by next fall, suggesting that even if it is a good idea, slowing down will make it better.

    Pasco School Board member Steve Luikart, right, discusses options for Ridgewood High School as board member Alison Crumbley looks on. [Photo by Jeffrey S. Solochek]
  3. Worker fixing cable line in Feather Sound after Hurricane Irma dies after fall from ladder

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 53-year-old worker repairing a cable line in the Feather Sound area on Saturday fell from his ladder and died, the Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner's Office said.

  4. 5 things under $5 Sept. 21-27: Snooty memorial, free Glazer Museum, actor Jackie Cruz, Talk Like a Pirate Day

    Events

    1 Remembering Snooty: This public memorial was postponed by Hurricane Irma, but on Sunday the community gets a chance to honor Snooty, the beloved 69-year-old manatee at Bradenton's South Florida Museum. The museum will be open to the public for free for a day of remembrance from noon to 5 p.m. 201 10th St. W, …

    7/15/2011 - Bradenton, FL - Snooty, the worlds oldest manatee on record, will celebrate his 63rd birthday on Saturday, at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton. Staff Photo by JIM HOCKETT
  5. 'Raging Bull' boxer Jake LaMotta dies at 95

    Obituaries

    Jake LaMotta, the former champion boxer whose life was immortalized by Robert DeNiro in the 1980 film Raging Bull, died Tuesday at age 95.

    Jake LaMotta and his fiance Denise arrive for the world premier of the critically acclaimed boxing drama "Ring Of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" at the Beekman Theater in New York in 2005. LaMotta, whose life was depicted in the film "Raging Bull," died Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at a Miami-area hospital from complications of pneumonia. He was 95. [Associated Press]