Friday, February 23, 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
Column: A combat zone, with desks

Column: A combat zone, with desks

For nine months in Kandahar, Afghanistan, I went through the same routine every day.I put on my uniform and tied my boots. I put a magazine in my 9-millimeter handgun and locked it in my hip holster. I put a 30-round magazine in my M-4 and slung it o...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Column: Billy Graham, the last nonpartisan evangelical?

It’s difficult to overstate the influence of the Rev. Billy Graham — who died at 99 last week — on American public life, and indeed the world, over the past century. It’s estimated that the globe-trotting preacher shared the Christian message with 21...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

She’s taught at the Parkland high school for 14 years. Can she go back?

She was afraid of what it would feel like, but she needed to know, so Melissa Falkowski pulled into the faculty parking lot. She took a deep breath in through her nose and climbed out of her car. She was back, in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Hig...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey, the leader of Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations over the way they report job placement figures, says he has no intention of stepping down unless he is paid a severance.In a letter from his attorney...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pasco foundation battling childhood hunger one school at a time

ZEPHRYHILLS — On a Thursday morning in a small warehouse off Gall Boulevard, a well-oiled machine of goodwill is cranking. At the Thomas Promise Foundation, volunteers Carlos and Robin Clothier, pack boxes of macaroni and cheese, granola bars, apple ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Live Coverage: Republican leaders announce school safety proposals

Live Coverage: Republican leaders announce school safety proposals

The Florida Senate’s own polling shows strong support for an assault weapons ban among Florida residents. But Republicans say their proposals won’t include that. What will it include?Follow live.[ TEXT OF SPEECH: Gov. Scott proposes $450 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Gov. Scott’s sweeping school safety changes; follow the Rays’ spring openers live; and more

Top 5 at noon: Gov. Scott’s sweeping school safety changes; follow the Rays’ spring openers live; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:LIVE COVERAGE: RICK SCOTT, REPUBLICAN LEADERS ANNOUNCE SCHOOL SAFETY PROPOSALSFlorida Gov. Rick Scott announced sweeping school safety changes as part of his response to the Feb. 14 mass shoo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Updated: 2 hours ago