Monday, June 18, 2018
News Roundup

Dunedin park will rise on Bayshore Boulevard

DUNEDIN — Nature, recreation and boating enthusiasts will soon have a new spot to play.

The Dunedin City Commission recently gave its parks and recreation department the okay to develop 2.3 acres of open grassland and 400 feet of shoreline, known as the Bleakley property, into a park, hopefully by the end of summer. The parcel is on Bayshore Boulevard, next to the Pinellas Trail overpass north of Curlew Road.

Oak, magnolia and other native trees will dot the park, overlooking picnic tables and benches where trail users and other visitors can lounge and enjoy views of scenic St. Joseph Sound. A shell path for pedestrians and bicyclists will ring the park, leaving plenty of open space for Frisbee, kickball and other recreation. The as-yet-unnamed park will have an eight-car shell parking lot.

But the most exciting feature, the staff said, will be a beachy area that gives way to a kayak launch.

"I think the attraction for the community and the neighborhood is its remaining open green space and the open view of the water," said parks and recreation director Vince Gizzi.

Dunedin managed to snag what was acknowledged as the city's last undeveloped tract of mainland waterfront property in 2010 after former owner Dale Bleakley agreed to drop his asking price by a half-million dollars to about $1 million.

The city used $775,000 in Land Dedication Ordinance reserves, a public parks account funded by residential developers' construction fees. Local landowner Sallie Guthrie chipped in the remaining $250,000 in exchange for the city bequeathing to her a dead-end road near her home, which she wanted to incorporate into a compound of homes and cottages for her family.

Gizzi said city park crews will use about $30,000 in the department's capital improvement fund to add park amenities; remove about 6 feet by 12 feet of mangroves to build the kayak launch; and build a fence separating the park from the Mediterranean Manors condominium development.

The annual cost of park maintenance is estimated at $3,500.

Other ongoing park projects include:

J.C. Weaver Park: The city expects to wrap up construction on pavilions, restrooms and a floating dock by summer's end. The park opened a year ago along Bayshore Boulevard just north of downtown. A matching grant will reimburse the city for half of the $500,000 cost of developing the park.

Trailside Oasis Park: This linear park — located across the road from the Bleakley property, at the northeast corner of Curlew and Alt. U.S. 19 — will feature an arboretum where people can learn about over 90 native trees in four groups: flowering, conifer, upland hardwood and wetland. The trees will be planted in phases over the next three years. City arborist Art Finn said about half of the flowering tree garden is already complete, thanks to a Boy Scout project. The Bay Bouquet Garden Club is sponsoring a May 19 adopt-a-tree ceremony in which volunteers will plant trees in honor of donors or their loved ones. Call Julie Easterday (727) 734-2058.

Gavin R. and Margaret M. Douglas Memorial Park: The lifelong Dunedin residents' children donated a half-acre tract at 538 and 540 Skinner Blvd., located just north of Mease Dunedin Hospital, late last year in exchange for the city naming the pocket park in their parents' memory. City staffers will ask commissioners to include park development money in next year's budget.

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: 1 hour 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: 2 hours 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: 3 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: 3 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: 4 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: 5 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: 5 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: 5 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: 6 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: 6 hours ago