Monday, June 18, 2018
News Roundup

Dunedin hires St. Petersburg architect for new fire station

DUNEDIN — The city has hired an architectural firm to begin designing a bigger, better fire station that's anticipated to open just inside Highlander Park next year.

The Dunedin City Commission unanimously approved the $196,348 contract with Wannemacher Jensen Architects Inc. of St. Petersburg on Thursday night.

Officials estimate it will take six months to design a replacement for the city's oldest fire station, located inside the park on Ed Eckert Drive off Michigan Boulevard.

Station No. 61 has been targeted for replacement since at least 2000, when the first of two city assessments determined the 4,679-square-foot station was obsolete.

According to the report, the 40-year-old station is too small, sits in a flood zone, lacks sprinkler and lightning protection systems, and likely wouldn't withstand a hurricane. The building sits at a blind intersection with limited visibility east and west. Cars parked for special events often block the way in or out.

The new 7,500-square-foot station will be built closer to the park's Michigan Boulevard entrance and adjacent homes. It is to be built with environmentally friendly features, have a life expectancy of 75 years and be able to withstand a Category 4 storm.

Public Works director Doug Hutchens said Wannemacher Jensen, one of 26 firms to apply for the job, has designed more than 15 fire stations and recently completed its eighth green-certified station in St. Petersburg.

Once blueprints are in, Hutchens said, the city will meet with neighborhood residents. The project will come back for commission approval before the city obtains permits and hires a construction team.

"One of the things the architectural firm has been tasked with is to come up with a design that will complement the site. And that means not only (making sure it matches the look of) the adjacent buildings but also the residential component," Hutchens said to commissioners' questions about how the new station will fit in.

The city last summer budgeted $1.5 million for construction, which is expected to begin early next year and take eight months. Hutchens said Pinellas County will contribute 13 percent of costs.

In other action...

• It's unclear how or when city leaders will proceed with discussion of a new city logo. Commissioners followed City Manager Rob DiSpirito's recommendation to delay discussion Thursday following a last-minute discovery that a proposal designed Wilesmith Advertising amd Design of West Palm Beach is similar to the 11-year-old logo used by the St. Petersburg Pier.

Wilesmith founder Margaret Wilesmith said she hadn't seen the Pier's logo until contacted by the Times on Thursday afternoon. She initially said she would recommend withdrawing the Dunedin logo from consideration. But, minutes before the meeting began, she said she'd been too hasty: "They are dissimilar enough that I think the city has room to discuss it further."

• One of two pavilions under construction at J.C. Weaver Park will be named after city partner Coca-Cola Co. The commission voted 5-0 to honor the company for its longtime support, including a $135,000 contribution offsetting park maintenance costs over the last five years. Coca-Cola general manager Tim Goodwin said Thursday night that the company's Dunedin facility produces goods which are shipped across the entire United States and four other countries.

Keyonna Summers can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 3 minutes ago
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Protests were held on both ends of Pinellas County on Monday in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as they seek asylum at the U.S. border."Children are not pawns," "No kids in cages" and "I would...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 5 hours ago