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St. Petersburg to take bids on voluntary curbside recycling program

ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council on Thursday approved Mayor Bill Foster's plan to seek bids from companies that will introduce a voluntary curbside recycling program for residents.

St. Petersburg is the only city out of 24 in Pinellas County not to offer the service. Foster will seek bids for weekly pickup with a single container for recycled materials.

Costs for the program would be paid by participating residents. Foster said he expects the fees to be about $5 to $7 a month, depending on how many residents participate.

"The more customers, the lower the price," Foster said.

Though Pinellas County commissioners will discuss introducing countywide recycling on May 4, Foster said he will seek bids for a citywide voluntary program. While council members approved the program, many said it wouldn't bring the benefits advocates say it will.

"Curbside recycling makes people feel better than how much it actually benefits the environment," Jim Kennedy said.

Jeff Danner called it the "low hanging fruit" that wasn't as pressing as other issues, such as improving water and air quality.

In other action Thursday, a council committee authorized the city staff to draft a lease giving Great Explorations, a children's museum, five years to rent space at Sunken Gardens. Rent would start at $2,600 a month and climb up to $4,800 a month by the fifth year. The museum also agreed to pay $38,000 over that period for constructions costs stemming from an entrance project from a few years ago.

The museum would have an option to extend the lease another five years if it meets those terms. The City Council is expected to vote on the lease in two months.

The agreement ends a showdown between the city and the museum.

Tensions between the city and the museum have risen in the past year. The city was fining the museum for falling behind on its payments for the construction, while museum officials claimed a bad economy made it difficult to meet lease terms that they called onerous. No such tension Thursday, however.

"This stuff is behind us," said Scott Wagman, a museum representative. "The museum is not facing an imminent demise."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or mvansickler@sptimes.com.

St. Petersburg to take bids on voluntary curbside recycling program 04/08/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 11:55pm]
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