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. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman faces Baker for first time tonight at the Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.'s church

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor's race has been making headlines for nearly two months as Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker have been making speeches, pressing the flesh at fundraisers and gathering their ground forces for an election battle that has already broken fundraising records.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  2. Tampa moves to pause permits for 5G wireless equipment to assess impact of new Florida law


    To business groups, the bill that Gov. Rick Scott signed Friday will clear the way for superfast 5G wireless communications and give Florida an edge in attracting high-tech companies.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and other local officials have worried that a new state law aimed at facilitating the installation of 5G wireless technology could clutter scenic corridors like Tampa's Riverwalk.
  3. Trump takes another swipe at CNN after resignations over retracted Russia story


    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump used the resignations of three CNN journalists involved in a retracted Russia-related story to resume his attack on the network's credibility Tuesday.

    Anthony Scaramucci, a senior adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, talks to reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Clearwater woman dies after losing control of SUV, flipping in Palm Harbor


    A Clearwater woman died early Tuesday morning when she lost control of her SUV and crashed in Palm Harbor, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. Countryside alum A.J. Andrews lands in ESPN's annual body issue


    A.J. Andrews has taken over the spotlight in softball. Last year, the former Countryside High and LSU standout became the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year existence.

    Former LSU/Countryside softball player AJ Andrews, now w/ Akron, is the first female to win a Rawlings Gold Glove in the award's 59-year history. (Courtesy of Rawlings)