Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas Park wants a blacktop with a green soul

PINELLAS PARK — Five years ago, city officials agreed to pay $3-million for a church building, although they didn't have definite plans for its use.

Since then, the city has spent about $500,000 upgrading the church's auditorium to create a Performing Arts Center.

Now, Pinellas Park council members have agreed to spend $49,700 to design an environmentally friendly parking lot that is expected to cost between $400,000 and $500,000.

City officials have not funded the project yet, Pinellas Park spokesman Tim Caddell said. The design is needed so the city can apply for grants to help pay for it.

The parking lot will be on the north side of the Performing Arts Center, 4951 78th Ave. N. The area, which is already used for parking, is a grass-covered space with a ditch or swale running through it. The problem, Caddell said, comes when it rains. The area gets muddy, and some people think they can drive across the swale, he said.

When finished, the parking area will have 188 spaces as required by the city's code. But it will not be covered in asphalt, concrete or another impervious surface. The city intends to use Geoweb, a porous pavement system that allows water to seep into the ground rather than run into the streets and drainage systems.

The parking lot will cost "a lot of money because of the technology," Caddell said. But he said it's important to use an environmentally friendly system to preserve the city's limited green space.

Not all council members thought the move was a good idea. Ed Taylor said he thought it was a waste of money to design and build a grass parking lot when the city already has a grass parking lot there. Taylor said he also doubts the city can get a grant. As Taylor understands them, grants come during times of prosperity. Considering the current economy, Taylor wondered whether money would be available. If it is, he said, the line of cities asking for money will be much longer than usual.

Pinellas Park officials bought the property where the arts center is located in 2003 from Pinellas Park Baptist Temple when the church bought the old Joyland entertainment center on U.S. 19 N. The city sold bonds to finance the $3-million purchase, as well as other projects. At the time, officials said they thought the church building could be turned into city offices.

Pinellas Park Baptist Temple remained in the building until 2006. City officials had no plans for the property and rented one of the buildings to the Classical Christian School for the Arts. They turned the other building into a performing arts center.

The $500,000 transformation required new lighting and sound systems, chairs, carpet and toilets. The revamped building debuted as the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center in November 2007 with a free concert by the Pinellas Park Civic Orchestra. The opening of the center helped round out the city's available venues for celebrations: the band shell, which is good for outdoor gatherings, and the auditorium, which is suited to smaller events, such as dances.

Since then, Caddell said, the center, which seats 500, has become a popular venue. "They're getting quite a bit of use out of it," he said. "We're doing a lot of wedding receptions."

Rental rates vary. Receptions cost from $400 for four hours during the week to $600 on weekends and holidays. Rental for performances cost $800 for nine hours weekdays and $1,200 for weekends and holidays. The venue was used 64 times during the 2007-08 fiscal year. Of those, 27 were city sponsored, and 37 were rentals earning Pinellas Park a total of about $21,261.

Pinellas Park wants a blacktop with a green soul 10/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Estimated 5,000 people marvel at MOSI over solar eclipse

    Human Interest

    Packing pinhole cereal box viewers, cardboard glasses and curiosity, solar gawkers gathered outside Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry on Monday for a show that required no ticket.

    At center, Sophia Butter, 8, and Kristina Butera, both of Valrico, watch the sun through eclipse viewing glasses during a solar eclipse party Monday at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa. MOSI will reopen after renovations on November 18. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Florida State sees plenty of upside in Dade City native Jacob Pugh


    TALLAHASSEE — No, Florida State senior Jacob Pugh is not as versatile as teammate Derwin James.

     Florida State Seminoles linebacker Jacob Pugh (16) and Florida State Seminoles defensive end DeMarcus Walker (44) celebrate after sacking the Miami quarterback Saturday October 8, 2016 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.
  3. Tampa officer treated for knee injury after police truck, police SUV collide


    TAMPA — A Tampa police officer was treated for a knee injury when his unmarked police truck collided with a patrol SUV while the officers were tracking a stolen car, a police spokesman said.

  4. Waiting for the eclipse: 'Everyone thinks this is cool'

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Hunter Holland came to school Monday with a NASA space T-shirt and solar viewers in his button-up shirt pocket. But he'd rather be in Missouri.

    Jayda Hebert (front, center), 11, uses her protective glasses to watch Monday's solar eclipse with her cousin, Judah Adams (back left), 11, and her brother Jake Hebert (right), 9, while with their family at St. Petersburg Beach. "We're skipping school for the eclipse," her mom, Sarah Hebert, said. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Second person resigns from Hillsborough diversity council after Confederate activist appointed


    TAMPA — A second person has resigned symbolically from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the appointment of a known activist of Confederate causes to the panel. 

    Two people have resigned from the Hillsborough County Diversity Advisory Council after the inclusion of David McCallister, a leader of the local branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.