Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sunderman's too-tall roof may lose some height

PALM HARBOR — It looks like the too-tall roof at the Sunderman recreation complex could come down after all.

But how far down, when and who would pay is yet to be determined.

Instead of suing to keep the roof at its present height, Palm Harbor Parks and Recreation officials have begun talking with Pinellas County to see whether the structure can be lowered.

The key is cost, said Rick Burton, director of parks and recreation, which is independent from Pinellas County government.

That cooperation is an apparent reversal of a decision that the recreation department's parent organization made last month. That's when the board of the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency voted to go to court rather than accept a county ruling that the building is nearly 10 feet taller than permitted.

Now county officials have asked Palm Harbor recreation for an estimate of how much it would cost to lower the roof from its present height of 34 feet, 3 inches to 25 feet. That's the maximum height the Pinellas County Board of Adjustment heard about when it approved the project.

Building plans originally called for a roof more than 34 feet tall, but the Board of Adjustment did not see those plans when it considered a variance request to allow the building to be built closer to the road than rules normally would allow.

The county's variance approval did not mention roof height. But since Palm Harbor recreation's contractor discussed a building height of 22 to 25 feet during two variance hearings, that became a "de facto" condition of approval, county officials say.

The county also has asked Palm Harbor to account for grant funds totaling $344,000 that the county gave the recreation department to help pay for building the structure.

The roof, designed to shelter a playing area for roller hockey and basketball, was originally expected to cost $461,000 in public funds. The pre-engineered roof alone cost $178,000, and the contract for installing it called for another $283,000.

Even though construction has been halted, much of the $461,000 has already been spent, officials have said.

Pinellas County gave the recreation department two grants for the project, Burton said in late February, and more than $260,000 of those funds had already spent at that time.

In March, Burton said it would double the cost of the project to lower the roof — and then it would be too low for basketball.

Burton said Friday he hopes to get estimates and spending figures to the county early next week.

If the cost to lower the roof turns out to be prohibitive, another option would be to take the structure down to the ground and cart it away.

Great idea, says Martin Del Monte, who lives across Delaware Avenue from the roof.

"They should just tear the building down, dismantle the structure and sell it for what they can get," Del Monte said. "And put the money towards increasing teachers' pay."

Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell can be reached at or (727) 445-4170.

Sunderman's too-tall roof may lose some height 05/16/08 [Last modified: Sunday, May 18, 2008 1:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. In Case You Missed It: U.S. sailors missing after Navy destroyer collides with oil tanker; Comedians Dick Gregory, Jerry Lewis pass away


    Weekends are great for unwinding, and maybe even unplugging for a little while. Here's what trended that you might have missed if you weren't on social media the last couple days.

    Dick Gregory in Washington, March 10, 2009. Gregory, the pioneering black satirist who transformed cool humor into a barbed force for civil rights in the 1960s, then veered from his craft for a life devoted to social causes, health regimens and conspiracy theories, died in Washington on Aug. 19, 2017. He was 84.
  2. Video: How to make a pinhole projector if you didn't score eclipse glasses


    CAPE CANAVERAL — Solar glasses are a must for safe viewing of Monday's total solar eclipse, the first to span coast to U.S. coast in 99 years.

    Follow these simple instructions to make a pinhole projector out of a cereal box. [Photo from video]
  3. Walmart expands grocery delivery service to Tampa


    TAMPA — Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery service to Tampa, the company announced Monday. Five locations will offer delivery for online grocery orders.

    Walmart is expanding its grocery delivery to Tampa, the company announced Monday. | [Times file photo]
  4. Lt. Gov. Lopez-Cantera won't run for Congress


    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has decided not to run for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Congress, though he may seek another office in 2020.

    Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.
  5. From the food editor: 'MasterChef' winner Shaun O'Neale talks cooking at Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival


    There are certain reliable signs that fall is on the way. Nothing in the weather department, of course, but other markers that usher in the celebratory final months of the year. One of those things is the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which happens annually in Orlando, seemingly longer and more jam-packed …

    Chicken Wings with Sweet Potato Puree. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.