Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sponge Docks upgrade ideas get official thumbs up, but some criticism from residents

TARPON SPRINGS — At the Sponge Docks of the future, you might enter Dodecanese Boulevard under a sail-shaped gateway and amble along shaded, red-cobbled streets.

You could stroll down a floating dock that juts into the Anclote River and then rest on seating at a waterfront amphitheater.

Then you could continue west to a three-level observation tower, where you could watch fishermen unload boats behind the seafood markets.

That vision was presented Tuesday to Tarpon Springs commissioners, who gave project architect Ed Hoffman permission to create construction drawings and ask companies for bids on $1.3 million in Sponge Docks upgrades.

The proposals came after three workshops over 15 months in which residents, boaters and business owners said they want to maintain the Greek village atmosphere and working waterfront of the Sponge Docks. They also want trees for shade, better lighting for nighttime visitors and way-finding signs for tourists.

Most construction would be scheduled for the tourism off-season, Hoffman added.

"We are a tourist location, but also what makes us special and unique is we are a working waterfront," Hoffman said. "We're trying to balance the needs of the people at the docks with the community needs and the tourist needs."

City Manager Mark LeCouris spoke warmly of the plans. And for the most part, commissioners did, too.

But some commissioners, including Townsend Tarapani, expressed concern the proposals might be too ambitious for the allotted money. He'd be more comfortable approving a plan that includes estimated costs. Then the city can prioritize if necessary, he said.

"We don't want to get to $1.3 million and not get one main component we want to have," Tarapani said. "I would like to see some of the costs associated with these elements."

Hoffman said he had calculated preliminary costs but wasn't prepared to discuss them Tuesday. Rather, he wanted the city to approve the broad ideas so he could move to the next steps: drawing specific designs and getting firm cost estimates.

"I would never give anybody the expectation we can do this whole project now," he said after the meeting. "That's why I refer to it as a master plan, because it's what could happen over a period of time."

Not everybody was pleased with the proposals.

Three people criticized the proposed changes as too modern. Most fired up was former Mayor Anita Protos.

Arms waving, Protos warned commissioners their grandparents were rolling over in their graves. In Greek, she told them they should be ashamed.

"For God sakes, value what you've got here! Value what the families have done," she said. "(Tourists) come to see the old and there's nothing wrong with it."

Contact Brittany Alana Davis at 850-323-0353 or bdavis@tampabay.com.

Sponge Docks upgrade ideas get official thumbs up, but some criticism from residents 02/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]