Monday, September 24, 2018
News Roundup

‘Parklets’ may be coming to Safety Harbor

SAFETY HARBOR — Christina Robertson, a resident of Safety Harbor and mother of Caleb, 3, sat inside Bravo Pizzeria on Main Street on a recent Wednesday. As she waited for her sandwich, Caleb hopped around the restaurant, dashing up and back to the front door, waving at both people and dogs on the other side of the window.

"Caleb loves being outside, but it is too tough to sit and eat outside," she said.

In a few months, the Robertson family might have an easier way to dine out with their toddler. Early in 2018, the City Commission will begin discussing "parklets," tiny parks that could be allowed outside restaurants and businesses. They would be placed on public rights of way (think parking spaces).

Parklets started popping up in urban centers, like Manhattan, Chicago and Seattle, several years ago. In Florida, Miami and Fort Lauderdale began installing them about four years ago.

In October, Andy Greenwood, a member of the city’s planning and zoning board, proposed parklets to the City Commission as a way to promote downtown while keeping that small-town feel.

Describing a parklet as "a business porch’’ and "a street patio," Greenwood explained that the board’s first thoughts included having the parklets, often filled with greenery and public art, to be paid for by area businesses that would serve as sponsors. Along with serving as advertising for the sponsor, the parklet would serve as an enticement for people to spend more time downtown.

Since the initial presentation by Greenwood, Matt Spoor, Safety Harbor’s city manager, and his staff have been preparing what Spoor calls a "parklet pilot program."

"In the last few weeks we have been meeting internally with public works, community development and engineering to create guidelines," Spoor said. "And we are looking at how other Florida cities have found success."

Some business owners, like Martha Morrison Sabo, co-owner of Antiques to Aardvarks, like the idea but are apprehensive about the cost. Morrison Sabo would like to see the creation of parklets funded not by individual businesses, but by several sources at once.

"Immediately, I think of bringing money from several different groups, for example having contributions come from the downtown merchants, the Chamber of Commerce and also some funding from the city," she said. "I do like the idea, though. Already, I put chairs outside of my business and people are always sitting in them so (parklets) would add to that and bring a little added greenery to Main Street."

On the other hand, Melissa Haist, owner of Tupelo on 4th, is all for it. Her studio/boutique at 135 Fourth Ave. N is a stone’s throw from Main Street.

"Our street used to be one made up of houses, but now it is made up of businesses, and during events like Third Fridays when Main Street is closed, we have just sat and watched everyone park and walk by us to Main Street," she explained. "I think (parklets) fit in perfect for what we have been wanting."

Once she learned of the parklet discussion, Haist asked Spoor for permission to create a parklet for November’s installment of Third Friday, and then she and her neighbors got to work. They set up a small picket fence, added a couch, chair and tables. "People seemed to really like it," she said.

And Haist plans to create another one for the December’s Third Friday tonight. "This time I have patio furniture," she said.

In the future, Haist has visions of parklets with more of an artistic twist, with more trees and plants. There will also be more flowers and, of course, they will be held in mosaic planters courtesy of Tupelo on 4th.

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

Comments
Deputy's wife texted 'Kirk has lost his mind' before murder-suicide, friend says

Deputy's wife texted 'Kirk has lost his mind' before murder-suicide, friend says

LAND O’LAKES — Samantha Keithley sent a series of disturbing text messages late Sunday, complaining about her husband to a longtime friend.“Kirk has lost his mind Kristin,” she wrote in one text to friend Kristin Kellin. &...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas beaches get some relief from Red Tide, prompting county to scale back cleanup

Pinellas beaches get some relief from Red Tide, prompting county to scale back cleanup

ST. PETERSBURG — Red Tide’s grip on Pinellas County’s beaches weakened over the weekend.County officials on Monday even scaled back their response to the waves of dead fish that began covering the shoreline on Sept. 8. "The winds are keeping it pushe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers slims its name down to WW

Weight Watchers is its dropping its brand name in exchange for something slimmer: "WW." The company says the new logo - coupled with the tagline "Wellness that Works" -- puts an emphasis on overall health and well being, with less...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tony Dungy in the Bucs Ring of Honor: The tributes roll in

Tony Dungy in the Bucs Ring of Honor: The tributes roll in

TAMPA — There's a weather alert at Raymond James Stadium, halting all pregame activities before the Bucs-Steelers game on Monday Night Football. Feels like a perfect time to talk Tony Dungy.With the former Bucs coach set to be inducted int...
Updated: 4 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Parker Valby and Joey Burns

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Parker Valby and Joey Burns

Our Players of the Week for the period spanning Sept. 17-22.Parker Valby, East LakeAt this past weekend's North Port Invitational, Valby figured she would finish sixth in the elite division, the spot where she was seeded.As soon as the gun sounded, t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

More on Dan Mullen’s return to ‘Stark Vegas’

As expected, Gators coach Dan Mullen's upcoming return to Starkville, where he led Mississippi State to national relevance, emerged as the dominant subject during his regular Monday press conference. Here's what he had to say about his de facto homec...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Shooter in Clearwater parking space incident makes bail

Shooter in Clearwater parking space incident makes bail

LARGO — Michael Drejka, the man who shot and killed Markeis McGlockton in a case that set off a national debate about self-defense in July, was released from the Pinellas County Jail on Monday afternoon.Always Available Bail Bonds posted $100,000 bai...
Updated: 5 hours ago
John Jonchuck set for spring 2019 trial in death of daughter Phoebe

John Jonchuck set for spring 2019 trial in death of daughter Phoebe

CLEARWATER — The day John Jonchuck was supposed to go on trial in the murder of his 5-year-old daughter, attorneys met instead to discuss a new trial date.The trial was delayed after Jonchuck’s attorneys raised concerns about one of the prosecutors’ ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
For starters: Kevin Kiermaier out of lineup as Rays host Yankees

For starters: Kevin Kiermaier out of lineup as Rays host Yankees

Rays centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier is out of the starting lineup tonight against the Yankees with a sore shoulder. He will be available if needed.The same goes for SS Willy Adames, who was held out Sunday due to illlness. Mallex Smith takes over...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Young, new managers bring spark to Airport Farmers & Flea Market

Young, new managers bring spark to Airport Farmers & Flea Market

By Beth N. GrayTimes CorrespondentSPRING HILL — The announcement, “Under New Management,” rings of change in the wind. That’s so at the Airport Farmers & Flea Market, where Jake and Chelsea Rosso, 27 and 28, respective...
Updated: 5 hours ago