Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Madeira Beach considers new parking garage at John's Pass

MADEIRA BEACH — Fourteen years after rejecting a proposed parking garage on city-owned land in John's Pass, the city is thinking again about getting into the business.

Commissioner Nancy Oakley wants the commission to consider using some of its property, as well as land owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars post as the location of a city-owned parking garage.

"The pass is packed now. What happens when the aquarium opens in December?" she asked fellow commissioners during a workshop discussion last week.

She said the VFW is interested in "giving up" its land if the organization is guaranteed the new building will include space for the post on the top floor.

Mayor Travis Palladeno suggested that instead of taxpayer money being used to build the garage, a private company could build it in exchange for a 99-year lease.

Ironically, that idea is what derailed a similar proposal in 1998 when a previous city commission rejected building a parking garage in John's Pass.

A German company had offered to build a $2.5 million automated garage on city-provided land. Once it was operational and costs paid back, the city would have shared in the parking revenues.

The proposed 66-foot-high cylindrical garage was to be fully automated and hold up to 240 cars.

Commissioners at the time envisioned the structure to include a revolving restaurant on the top of the garage, but the proposal collapsed over the issue of a 99-year lease on city land.

Some commissioners at the time also wanted the city to consider building its own garage and retaining all the revenue.

Nothing was done, however, until 2003 when Hubbard Enterprises received permission from the city to build a 350-space parking garage and multistory structure with retail and restaurant space at the base of the John's Pass Bridge.

The garage, now operating, was part of the Hubbard's $19.5 million redevelopment at the base of the John's Pass boardwalk.

The former open parking lot was converted into 12,000 square feet of commercial space wrapped around 327 parking spaces in the parking garage.

The new 12,000-square-foot boardwalk buildings replaced 6,000 square feet of space, Hubbard's leasable space.

Now, the Pier Aquarium is planning to move from its St. Petersburg location into some of that space.

Plans call for the Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium to open its new location at John's Pass Village in December.

The 12,500-square-foot aquarium is to be located on two floors next to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Hooters.

Forty exhibits with touch screens, creatures to touch or other interactive experiences are planned. The aquarium would focus on a theme of learning about marine science, how information from the sea is gathered and how it's used.

However, City Manager Shane Crawford, who has been meeting with the parties involved in the new attraction for John's Pass, said it is not a certainty.

Commissioner Robin Vander Velde worried that if the aquarium does not move to John's Pass, the city might be "stuck with a white elephant."

"There are all sorts of intricacies in play," Crawford said. "It's fair to say that the aquarium is not a done deal."

He agreed with commissioners that if the aquarium does open in December, it will create major parking problems in John's Pass.

The commission plans to debate the issue again at its next workshop meeting.

Comments
How the Disney/Fox deal will shaeke up Hollywood

How the Disney/Fox deal will shaeke up Hollywood

Associated PressNEW YORK — After years of tremors, the earthquake that had long been predicted finally shook Hollywood. Disney’s deal to purchase most of 21st Century Fox ends the era of the "Big Six" major movie studios, toppling one of the industry...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

Being your own lawyer: bad idea. People in Tampa Bay do it anyway.

LARGO — Daniel Richards walked into the courtroom in his orange jail scrubs. Carrying a stack of papers, he stood in front of Pinellas Circuit judge Chris Helinger as she glanced at the handwritten documents he filed days earlier."I foresee foul play...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Missing Child Alert canceled for Port St. Lucie girl, 17

A Florida Missing Child Alert has been canceled for a 17-year-old Port St. Lucie girl who was last seen on Thursday.The case involving Heaven Flores has been resolved, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

Rick and Tom podcast: Is Dirk Koetter fighting for his job?

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Dirk Koetter is fighting for his job the final three weeks of season. Is there a rift between him and Jameis Winston? Has Winston shown enough progress this year? And who are the Glaz...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, later found in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men, with several outstanding warrants, face additional charges after Hillsborough County deputies said they were driving a stolen car when they fled an attempted traffic stop on Thursday afternoon.The men ran away from deputie...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Hudson pedestrian killed while crossing U.S. 19

HUDSON — A Hudson man was killed Thursday night while crossing U.S. 19.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 59-year-old Gerald Berube was crossing the northbound lanes of U.S. 19 north of Stahl Drive around 6:40 p.m. when he walked into the path ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Morning clouds yield to bright, warm weekend sunshine across Tampa Bay

Early clouds and possible morning sprinkles will yield to increasing sunshine later in the day, setting the stage for a pleasant and warmer weekend across Tampa Bay.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area Temperatures are starti...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Bicyclist killed in Seminole Heights crash; portion of E Hillsborough Avenue closed

TAMPA — A bicyclist was killed early Friday morning in a crash in Seminole Heights.Tampa Police say the bicyclist was struck by a car just after 12:15 a.m.Eastbound E Hillsborough Avenue is closed from N Florida Avenue to N Central Avenue while polic...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

The Daystarter: Focus on free speech in colleges; Rays trades may still be coming; Katy Perry tonight in Tampa; remembering ‘The Fight Doctor’

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• A stray shower is possible today as another cold front moves through, according to 10Weather WTSP. Luckily, the front only depresses temperatures into the lower 70s. The week...
Updated: 4 hours ago