Wednesday, April 18, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater to put gated fence around entrance to downtown library

CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Main Library is the unquestioned crown jewel of this city's public buildings. It's the newest and best, an attractive four-story structure with majestic water views.

But after eight years, the downtown library's front entrance and the outdoor terrace on the building's west side are starting to show wear and tear. Officials say that's partly because there's a problem with homeless people sleeping around the building at night.

So the City Council voted Thursday night to put a teal-colored, 8-foot metal fence around the front entrance, with a curving arch on top that mirrors the library's wavelike roof. A similar fence will surround the west terrace. The whole thing will cost $119,400.

"It is the main entrance to the signature building for the city of Clearwater, and we want to make it nice and we want to make it appealing," library director Barbara Pickell told the council. "All in all, we feel this would really enhance the library."

The main goal is to spruce up the library's entrance with an attractive courtyard that has decorative fencing, a bit of new landscaping and some kind of public art element, city officials said.

However, there's another purpose as well: A sliding gate will be locked at night, preventing people from sleeping in that courtyard, sheltered from rain beneath the entryway's overhang.

City Manager Bill Horne compares this strategy to the city's practice of locking the gate at closing time at Station Square Park, another gathering spot for the homeless downtown. He said the locking reduces wear and tear on public property.

"It closes at a certain time of night," Horne said. "It's locked up. It stays in a condition that's usable to all the members of the public who might have a reason to go there."

The City Council decided to add the fence to the library's entrance at the suggestion of the Clearwater Library Foundation.

This was actually library supporters' second attempt to get the fence.

In April, council members rejected a proposal for a $72,000 black metal fence around the entrance. They said it looked too spartan and cold, and it didn't match the library's architecture.

Library officials went back to the drawing board and came up with a design that looks more welcoming.

"This is an order of magnitude better than what was presented previously," said City Council member Bill Jonson.

At first, the proposed new design cost $188,300. About $50,000 of that would have paid to replace the concrete slabs outside the library's front door with paver stones similar to the ones used for Cleveland Street's sidewalks downtown.

But on Thursday night, council members said no to the pavers and also removed the words "Clearwater Public Library" from the fence's archway, cutting the project's overall cost to $119,400. The money will come from city reserves.

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
Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

Lightning stands up to Devils, pushes its way to 3-1 series lead

NEWARK, N.J. — Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Taking Care of Business shook the walls of the Lightning locker room not long after it dispatched the Devils in Wednesday's Game 4 of their first-round playoff series.The 3-1 win was sparked by Nikita K...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for April 18

Wednesday’s scoreboardSoftballAdmiral Farragut 2, Boca Ciega 1Springstead 10, Nature Coast 4
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Lightning-Devils: How Tampa Bay worked its way to a 3-1 series lead

Times columnist Tom Jones gives his thoughts while watching the broadcast of Game 4 of the series between the Lightning and Devils:Hard work beats everythingWe watch the Lightning all season long and marvel at its skill. Nikita Kucherov, Steven ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Political skirmish erupts over plan to revamp Hillsborough commission

Political skirmish erupts over plan to revamp Hillsborough commission

TAMPA — A political fight over the makeup of Hillsborough County government could be heading to voters to decide.After a discussion divided along party lines, commissioners voted 5-2 Wednesday to move ahead with a plan to overhaul the structure of th...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Largo police release video as State Attorney clears officer in shooting

Largo police release video as State Attorney clears officer in shooting

LARGO — The Pasco-Pinellas state attorney cleared a Largo police officer who fatally shot a 30-year-old man last month.The letter from State Attorney Bernie McCabe said Officer Matthew Steiner was "in imminent fear for his life" during the March 23 e...
Updated: 3 hours ago
2 men spread affirmations in New Hampshire; bipartisan bill calls for VA to study pot; 3 men convicted in plot to bomb Somali refugees; more in U.S. news

2 men spread affirmations in New Hampshire; bipartisan bill calls for VA to study pot; 3 men convicted in plot to bomb Somali refugees; more in U.S. news

New HampshireWe need more of these signsTwo men are trying to spread some positivity with their feel-good signs. NH1 reported Greg Amaral and Wendell Walker have stood in downtown Nashua with signs carrying positive messages each weekend since Easter...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. aren’t available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Wed., April 18, midday:15 112 6177e_SRit28928Wed., April 18, evening:11 318 7120e_SRit93676LottoWed., April 18:...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Diamond shines light on ‘lost planet,’ says study; Merkel condemns attack on 2 men in Jewish skullcaps in Berlin; more in world news

Diamond shines light on ‘lost planet,’ says study; Merkel condemns attack on 2 men in Jewish skullcaps in Berlin; more in world news

WorldDiamond sheds light on ‘lost planet’Fragments of a meteorite that fell to Earth about a decade ago provide compelling evidence of a lost planet that once roamed our solar system, according to a study published Tuesday. Researchers from Switzerla...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Hillsborough targets bilingual teachers’ aides in latest school cuts

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School District, with a large and growing population of children from foreign cultures, is reducing the ranks of teacher aides who help them master the English language.Next year’s workforce will have about 164 fewer p...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

Anonymous Rays rally to beat Rangers 4-2, win series

ST. PETERSBURG — Even before they lost several of the hitters they were relying most on to injuries, the Rays did not exactly have a lineup built on intimidation.Their own owner said opening day that he expected them to rank among the least pro...
Updated: 5 hours ago