Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Little by little, Lealman could see improvements

LEALMAN — Decrepit houses. Narrow, crumbling streets. Not enough fire hydrants. These are just a few of the problems that continue to plague the unincorporated Lealman area. Now, the county wants to take another stab at breathing life into the area.

But any rejuvenation will cost millions, which is money Pinellas doesn't have right now. So officials say they'll do the work a little at a time and rely mostly on grant money and community involvement to get the job done, They say it will take years to finish the work.

"It's going to be challenging," said Armanda Lampley of Pinellas County's community development department, which is spearheading the redevelopment.

The project is in its earliest phases. Lealman residents have provided guidance on the problems they see in the community and an engineering firm has identified issues. Engineers are scheduled to submit a report in August that will outline proposed improvements and their estimated cost.

The unincorporated Lealman area, which lies roughly between Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg and on either side of Kenneth City, has long been a target for rejuvenation. Pinellas officials first came into the community about 11 years ago and began working with activists to come up with a vision of what residents wanted the area to look like. They worked with community activists and concentrated most efforts on a portion of Lealman that lies between 40th and 54th avenues N and 34th and 49th streets.

Those efforts have produced some successes: The portion of Lealman east of Kenneth City has the only unified garbage service in unincorporated Pinellas. Fire hydrants were installed. Several districts were set up to provide street lights in parts of the area. Lealman Park, on 54th Avenue N, just west of 34th Street was cleaned up and refurbished. The county bought about 38 acres to form Joe's Creek Greenway Park at 4303 46th Ave. N. More than 825 tons of trash was taken out of the area during several community cleanups.

Most recently, the county condemned three buildings that had multiple, long-standing code violations. Those will be razed.

But problems linger: Some streets are so narrow and have such steep ditches that firefighters can't pull to the side of the road and get out without falling into a ditch. Vandalism and graffiti have taken their toll at the Joe's Creek park. Trash and debris are still problems. The water quality in Joe's Creek is poor.

"It's affecting the wildlife that's there," Lampley said.

All that will be taken care of in the next few years if all goes right. Many residents and the county envision better streets, sidewalks, ditches that aren't dangerous and clean water in Joe's Creek.

"This is exciting," said Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch, adding that it was important to make sure the little money that is available remains earmarked for Lealman improvements.

"I cringe every time I hear the dollars might go somewhere else," Welch said.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.

Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 6 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 6 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 11 hours ago