Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Wanted: New businesses on Safety Harbor's Main Street

RECOMMENDED READING


SAFETY HARBOR — A green grocery store, a hardware store, restaurants, boutiques and multi-use buildings are all wanted downtown, according to discussion at a community redevelopment workshop held last week. And to bring them to the Main Street district, city commissioners, led by Mayor Joe Ayoub, gave City Manager Matt Spoor and community development director Marcie Stenmark an assignment: Get the ball rolling.

"Let's empower the city manager to figure out who is interested in working with properties on Main Street,'' said Ayoub, who has been pushing for a focus on redevelopment since taking office last spring.

City commissioners also directed Spoor to find a volunteer willing to be an economic development liaison to help the team with marketing and recruiting efforts.

Ayoub later said that although Safety Harbor already has a downtown core, "there is a need to build on what is already in place. We have momentum, but we can do more. There's vacant buildings that have been vacant for a while, and some buildings are worn-out and need to be updated.''

Although all the commissioners approved of the need to strengthen downtown's core, several were hesitant on how to move forward. Vice Mayor Carlos Diaz hoped fellow commissioners would create stronger infrastructures before reaching out to potential businesses. Commissioner Cliff Merz encouraged more back-and-forth with the community before targeting any outside businesses to set up shop permanently downtown.

Not everyone was in agreement.

"I'm dead set against this,'' resident John Estok. "I would like to know why the chamber of commerce can't do this, and why does the city manager, the CEO of our city have to do this.''

Ayoub, who had proposed adding a paid economic development director to city payroll several weeks ago, did not entirely disagree.

"That (Spoor's time) was one of the reasons I was pushing for hiring an economic development director. But the desire was not there with the commission,'' he said. "Now we have added the volunteer position, and that person will be in place to assist the city manager.''

Betsy Byrd is a former president of the chamber and owner of the Stuffed Mushroom. In 1998, she moved the business from Largo after buying the building at 825 Main St. for about $150,000. After almost 20 years operating a successful catering company from the spot, three months ago, with the help of a city grant, Byrd added a retail area.

"In order to bring businesses, you need to be able to provide incentives and grants. And the money is something that only the city can manage. The Chamber of Commerce can't do that,'' she said.

Byrd also agrees with Ayoub that Safety Harbor currently has momentum.

"I can say this. I walk down Main Street and I am amazed. There has got to be four times the number of businesses here now then there were when we first opened.''

Spoor and his staff are also creating a survey for the Safety Harbor community. In the coming weeks, the community will be invited to go to the city website to provide input for community redevelopment.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 1 hour ago
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 4 hours ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 4 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 4 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 5 hours ago