Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Planned Madeira Beach park is one for fun and remembrance

MADEIRA BEACH — A special park dedicated to children who have died is about to be built in this beach community, thanks to more than a half-million dollars in donations from grieving families and community supporters.

The waterfront ROC (Remember Our Children) Park is expected to officially open in January when construction of a City Hall, fire station and recreational complex is set to be completed.

"The park is intended to serve as a positive and happy reminder of all those we have lost who have touched our lives," City Manager Shane Crawford said. "It will be a celebration of life and a beautiful, serene place to reflect on all of our loved ones who are no longer physically with us, but still very much alive in our hearts."

The memorial park, unanimously approved by the City Commission last month, will be an integral part of the city's recreational complex and is the brainchild of local contractor Bill Karns, who lost his son, William F. Karns III, 26, last year.

Originally, the city had budgeted about $200,000 for the landscaping at its new park, but Karns' firm, William Karns Enterprises Inc., is charging the city $50,000 less to install all the landscaping and amenities surrounding the city's new recreational complex.

In addition, Karns, his wife, Diane, and two daughters, Paige and Nikki, created a nonprofit foundation, ROC Park Inc., which has already raised more than $500,000 to help pay for additional features and amenities well beyond those originally planned by Madeira Beach.

"This will be a hub of activity for Madeira Beach and for people from all communities. We are very, very excited about it," Karns said.

Brick paver walkways will replace shell paths surrounding the park, located on the Intracoastal Waterway just east of the City Hall complex.

Along the walkway, visitors can enjoy fountains, a butterfly garden, a splash pad and playground for children, or sit on benches overlooking Boca Ciega Bay.

People can bring their pets to a fenced dog park. Ball fields already are attracting competing teams and tournaments.

"The liveliness of the recreation center and patrons enjoying the grounds will create a happy and positive atmosphere for all who visit," Crawford said.

So far, more than 100 people, businesses and organizations have donated money or materials to the park foundation.

The largest contributor to date is Home Depot, which is providing landscaping and materials for the project.

Home Depot has yet to confirm the value of that contribution, but Karns said it could well be $200,000.

"Since out first store opened, Home Depot has been dedicated to giving back to community," Largo Home Depot store manager John Matz said.

Karns said three large sun shades within the park are being donated by Andy and Vicki Hano, who lost their son Michael in a car accident; former Buc Mike Alstott; and Dignity Memorial, one of the country's largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services.

"I hope the park will become a place for families to come to remember their children in the midst of a recreational park being enjoyed by children of all ages," Karns said. "The park will be there for many, many years and enjoyed by thousands of people."

He got the idea for the park after his family visited MOMS (Memories of Missing Smiles) park in Ocala.

"That beautiful park inspired us to do this. We did not want anything morbid or cemeterylike," Karns said. "My son loved kids and would be thrilled to see kids playing on a splash pad."

He also plans a metal artwork palm tree where people can hang "locks of love" dedicated to passed loved ones.

"It will be a spectacular piece of artwork," Karns said.

Karns said his foundation will sponsor fundraising activities to continue to raise money to support the park.

Two ideas are a "Rock for ROC Park concert and a 5K "Run for ROC Park" event. Both would be held at the park.

The city is accepting donations to Karn's foundation, Crawford said. Donations should be made to ROC Inc. and mailed to the attention of the City Clerk at the city of Madeira Beach, 300 Municipal Drive, Madeira Beach, FL 33708.

Karns said people also can purchase brick pavers or memorial plaques that will be placed on benches.

Additional information and updates about the park will be available at rocpark.com.

 
Comments

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Dec. 15, midday:01 563 0000e_SRit95765Fri., Dec. 15, evening:12 287 1492e_SRit04851Fantasy 5Fri., Dec. 15...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is very little these days that can dampen the mood of Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise, whose Gators knocked off reigning national champion Stanford in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals and face Nebraska tonight for the title. Not...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 5 hours ago