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Long-delayed Safford Avenue project comes to a close

TARPON SPRINGS — Trees with purple flowers now line the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail here. And a new exercise park at Live Oak Street has a boardwalk and weight machines.

The long-delayed North Safford Avenue Recreation Corridor is scheduled to be finished soon, nearly a year after construction began.

The project, which blocked roads at some points and caused consternation for area businesses, is part of a larger effort to create a walkable pathway between the Sponge Docks and downtown.

There have been several snags in the past year, including the discovery of contaminated dirt that had to be removed at the hefty price tag of $353,000. A recent sewage line rupture near the project is also likely to delay the date of the official opening, which has not yet been announced.

At a final cost of about $1.2 million, here is what residents will get for their money.

• New curbing along Safford, including a median with plants, park benches and landscaping.

• An exercise park at the southeast corner of Safford and Live Oak Street. The green space has newly unwrapped beige and green exercise equipment, including an elliptical machine, stationary bike and weight machines.

• A connection to the Pinellas Trail via a wood boardwalk. The trail has also been resurfaced from Tarpon Avenue to Pine Street.

• A newly redesigned dog park on the northeast corner adjacent to the Live Oak municipal parking lot. The park includes "dog tunnels" made of large pipes and a wooden bridge for doggie climbing, in addition to water splash features and a red canopy for shade. There are separate sections with identical amenities for large and small dogs. The park was initially installed with a ground cover of gray granite gravel, but the city is replacing some of the gravel with grass after resident complaints.

• More than 70 trees have been planted in and adjacent to the dog park.

Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at (727) 445-4155.

Long-delayed Safford Avenue project comes to a close 09/03/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:21pm]

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