Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

While dismantling neighborhood playgrounds, Clearwater plans a pricey one for tourist area

CLEARWATER — This city that has been dismantling playgrounds in neighborhood parks will soon install a nearly $440,000 new playground at Pier 60 Park in the heart of the Clearwater Beach tourist district.

The City Council is set to approve the project at its meeting Thursday night.

Council members also will likely vote to install a $100,000 flag plaza between Pier 60 and the Clearwater Beach Roundabout, displaying the flags of branches of the U.S. military.

A plan for the new Pier 60 playground shows it will feature an elaborate, one-of-a-kind play structure that resembles a sand castle, which the city will purchase from a Minnesota company.

The beachside park will also get a new "Welcome to Clearwater Beach" sign.

The goal is for the sand castle playground and the sign to become a focal point on the beach and a photo opportunity for beach visitors, Parks and Recreation director Kevin Dunbar told the City Council at a work session Monday.

The main play structures will be constructed from concrete and are designed to withstand the harsh beach weather with little to no maintenance, Dunbar said.

If approved Thursday night, the new playground should be installed by September, before the beach district's busy season starts up.

Council members expressed support for the idea.

"I was out there the other day ... It was about 8:30 in the morning, and there were kids using the playground equipment that is currently there," Mayor George Cretekos said. "I think this is a good step for us."

Meanwhile, Clearwater continues to eliminate older playgrounds in the city's neighborhood parks due to budget constraints.

Nine of the city's 34 playgrounds were torn down within the past six years, city records show, with several more scheduled for demolition by 2019.

The city says this is a safety measure, as it can no longer afford to replace play structures that have reached the end of their life-span. Demolishing the play structures once they're 12 to 15 years old is intended to protect children from injury and the city from liability.

"If a playground outlives its current life-span, it's not being replaced if there's another playground close by," said Clearwater spokeswoman Joelle Castelli.

As for the Pier 60 playground, she said: "That is a tourist destination. This will be a signature playground that will welcome visitors to the most touristy part of our town."

The flag plaza to be constructed near Pier 60 was the mayor's idea, although Cretekos originally envisioned it in the middle of the roundabout. Other council members preferred a location on the western side of the roundabout.

The plaza, which has yet to be designed, will feature the flags of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at brassfield@tampabay.com or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

While dismantling neighborhood playgrounds, Clearwater plans a pricey one for tourist area 04/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 6:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Qatar Airways seeks to buy a stake in American Airlines

    Airlines

    NEW YORK — State-owned Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight of deals that size.

    In this file photo, a new Qatar Airways Airbus A350 approaches the gate at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany. Qatar Airways is attempting to buy a 10 percent stake in American Airlines, triggering U.S. antitrust oversight over deals of such size. 
[AP file photo]
  2. In Iowa, the president channels his inner candidate Trump (w/video)

    National

    CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Struggling to advance his agenda in Washington, President Donald Trump traveled to the Midwest for a raucous rally with his loyal supporters — the kind of event he relished before winning the White House.

    President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. This is Trump's first visit to Iowa since the election. [Associated Press]
  3. Applications for U.S. jobless aid tick up to still-low 241,000

    Working Life

    WASHINGTON — Slightly more people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applications remained at a historically low level that suggests the job market is healthy.

    On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits a week earlier. [Associated Press]
  4. Study: States with legalized marijuana have more car crash claims

    Accidents

    DENVER — A recent insurance study links increased car crash claims to legalized recreational marijuana.

    A close-up of a flowering marijuana plant in the production room of Modern Health Concepts' greenhouse on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. [C.M. Guerrero | Miami Herald/TNS]
  5. Black lawmaker: I was called 'monkey' at protest to change Confederate street signs

    Blogs

    A black state legislator says he was called a "n-----" and a "monkey" Wednesday by pro-Confederates who want Hollywood to keep three roads named after Confederate generals, including one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Rep. Shevrin Jones.