Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tierra Verde talks with Lealman about fire service, irks St. Petersburg chief

LEALMAN — The fire district in this unincorporated area is considering extending its reach — all the way to Tierra Verde, about 15 miles south.

Lealman fire Chief Rick Graham said Wednesday that he met with representatives of the Tierra Verde Community Association about the possibility of supplying fire and emergency service to residents there.

Lealman would not actually send firefighters or paramedics to each call, but would staff and manage a station on Tierra Verde. Residents there would pay for the service and any necessary vehicles and equipment.

Tierra Verde contracts with St. Petersburg for fire service, but the island's residents have sued the city in an attempt to overturn an annexation of commercial property at the tip of Tierra Verde. The community association's board also voted in January not to renew the fire contract with St. Petersburg when it ends Sept. 30.

They asked the county, which oversees such contracts for unincorporated areas, to open Tierra Verde's fire and EMS service to bids.

Community association member Jack Parker could not be reached for comment. But St. Petersburg fire Chief James Large was irked by the situation.

In a May 5 letter to the Pinellas County Fire Administration, which oversees such contracts, Large said the city had provided exemplary service to the island's residents at a reasonable cost.

"It is our desire to continue both the process and service delivery to Tierra Verde in the same manner as past years," Large wrote.

But "we will not participate in a bid process that is the result of issues unrelated to issues of public safety, fire services or possible cost savings, and which has the potential to compromise the level of service that the residents of Tierra Verde have grown to expect."

Large said that if the county refused to renew the contract, then his letter would be notice of St. Petersburg's intention to terminate the Tierra Verde agreement.

St. Petersburg's First Deputy Mayor Tish Elston agreed Friday that the city would likely not bid on the contract.

"I think it's somewhat futile," Elston said.

Graham said Lealman is interested in providing the service depending on the requirements of the contract.

Graham said he also wants to make sure the contract would cover all costs so Lealman taxpayers don't inadvertently end up on the hook for any expenditures.

In 2008, the Tierra Verde fire station handled 567 EMS calls and responded to 137 fire-related calls.

Not all of those calls were on Tierra Verde. The station handles calls for Fort De Soto and other nearby areas.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at or (727) 893-8450.

Tierra Verde talks with Lealman about fire service, irks St. Petersburg chief 05/09/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 9, 2009 4:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Jason Aldean fires up a country-dude party at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre


    Country music has a dude problem.

    I’m not talking about the proliferation of mindless bro country over the past half-decade, nor am I referring to the fact that most of Nashville’s best music these days comes not from said bros, from female singers and songwriters.

    Jason Aldean performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Aug. 18, 2018.
  2. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police


    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  3. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot


    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of
  4. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  5. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]