Sunday, December 17, 2017
News Roundup

Clearwater approves new beach parking garage

CLEARWATER — A plan that has been floating around for 15 years will finally come to fruition. A large new public parking garage is coming to north Clearwater Beach after elected officials approved a hard-fought agreement with the garage's developer Wednesday night.

The seven-story garage could be built as early as next year at Pelican Walk Plaza, a shopping center in the beach's Mandalay Avenue business district.

The Clearwater City Council unanimously approved an agreement that outlines how the 642-space garage will be constructed and operated. The vote came after council members repeatedly heard from beach business owners who strongly support the new garage, as well as neighboring residents who oppose it.

The garage's detractors, who are threatening legal action, say it will be too big and boxy and will cause traffic problems. But surrounding businesses say more parking is badly needed.

"Obviously, some of the neighbors aren't going to be happy," Mayor George Cretekos said before voting. "But it is a tourist resort destination area. It has always been that."

"A parking garage doesn't increase traffic," council member Hoyt Hamilton said. "It gives traffic another place to get off the road."

The garage was also the subject of intense last-minute negotiations between the city and the company that's building the garage — Safety Harbor developer Paradise Group LLC.

The two sides are entering into a public-private partnership. But as recently as last week, the deal was in danger of falling apart. At issue was how much flexibility the city and the developer will each have in using their allotment of parking spaces.

Paradise will build the garage, and Clearwater is to pay $11.3 million for 450 spaces on the middle levels. That money comes from parking meters and parking tickets.

In an interview Wednesday, City Manager Bill Horne said the city might lease out some of those spaces to beach businesses for employee parking. The Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce is calling for that.

When Paradise developer Michael Connor learned this recently, he was concerned that the city might undercut his private parking rates in the new garage.

He and the city hashed out a new agreement. Now it will be up to the developer whether the garage's bottom and top floors will be leased or hourly parking. Originally, 103 spaces on the top were to be leased, while 89 spaces on the bottom were to be reserved for workers and customers at Pelican Walk Plaza.

Contact Mike Brassfield at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. Follow @MikeBrassfield.

Comments
Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

Lightning wins at Avalanche with four-goal second period

DENVER — The Lightning left for Las Vegas Saturday for the first of four nights in Sin City.But Tampa Bay’s first regret came before it boarded the charter flight; the Lighting lamented making Saturday’s 6-5 win over the Avalanche much more thrilling...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Aquarium reopens to divers

Aquarium reopens to divers

Florida Keys News BureauVisitors to Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters dive with among indigenous Keys fish Friday in Marathon. The attraction reopened Friday after closing just before Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sept. 10. Although tourism f...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Fan helps fund Miami Stadium’s historic marker

MIAMI — For thousands of kids who grew up in Miami, going to the old Miami Stadium in the Allapattah neighborhood was a part of coming of age. Opened on Aug. 31, 1949, with a game between the Miami Sun Sox and Havana Cubans, two Class B Florida Inter...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Published: 12/16/17

Two die in head-on crash on Gunn Highway in Odessa

ODESSA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a head-on crash on Gunn Highway that killed two and sent a child to the hospital Saturday afternoon.About 12: 45 p.m., Terry Lee Bronschidle, 70, of Tampa was driving his Chevy Traverse south on...
Published: 12/16/17
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch has won 10 straight after Friday’s victory over Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental league, the ...
Published: 12/16/17