Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Clearwater officials consider posting flags in beach roundabout

RECOMMENDED READING


CLEARWATER — At the mayor's suggestion, the rest of Clearwater's elected officials are beginning to consider displaying the flags of U.S. service academies on flagpoles in the center of the Clearwater Beach Roundabout.

But they have a lot of questions, and at this point there's no consensus about what to do. They wonder whether the flags might turn out to be a traffic hazard, like a $1.7 million fountain that occupied the space originally and had to be torn down.

Also, some think Pier 60 Park might be a better spot to post a bunch of flags.

Mayor George Cretekos isn't pushing the issue too hard. He says he's simply interested in finding out whether the idea is workable and whether there's support for it. He thinks the flags of the five service academies or U.S. military branches would make a fitting end to the Clearwater Memorial Causeway, particularly since the other end of the causeway features statues of a World War I soldier and sailor.

Currently, there's a grassy field in the middle of the roundabout. That space has remained empty since the fountain was demolished in 2002.

"A lot of people have said that we need to put something there to replace the fountain," Cretekos said Monday during a Clearwater City Council work session. "But my concern has always been safety. If you put something in the roundabout, you don't want it to be, for lack of a better term, a photo opportunity so that people are crossing the street to get to the roundabout to take a picture."

Council members discussed the idea this week, but didn't vote. Instead, they asked the Parks and Recreation Department to explore whether the idea is feasible.

Vice Mayor Paul Gibson recalled how the fountain had to be torn down because it obstructed drivers' view of the other side of the roundabout. He would want any flags to be high enough to not block the street-level view. Cretekos said he was envisioning five flags up in the air on flagpoles, with an American flag in the center of them.

Gibson was still worried about pedestrians darting through traffic to get to the walkway that's in the center of the roundabout. He sees enough of that already, and wonders if flags would attract more of it.

Council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito suggested switching the flags' location to the entrance of nearby Pier 60 Park, where dozens of painted fiberglass dolphins were on display during last year's Republican National Convention.

"I would be more comfortable with that," said council member Bill Jonson, who was in office a decade ago when Clearwater leaders voted to get rid of the roundabout's fountain.

The five service academies are the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.; the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn.; the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.; and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 5 hours ago