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Belleair Bluffs sets deadline for center

A local group raising money to build a community center has until the spring of 1993 to break ground. J. Wilson Reed, former mayor of Belleair Bluffs and chairman of Belleair Bluffs Community Center Inc., told city commissioners Monday his organization would meet the deadline without having to take out a mortgage.

"We now have $75,000 in the bank," Reed said. Local civic clubs have pledged several thousand more and donations are coming in at a steady pace, Reed said. The center, designed by the Arthur Rutenberg Corp., is expected to cost about $300,000.

The center is to be built on city-owned land at 2500 Sunset Blvd. If Reed's group cannot raise the money, officials said, the land probably would become a park.

The city bought the land near Indian Rocks Road last fall for $260,000.

Those who donate $100 or more will have their names inscribed on decorative tiles that will cover one wall of the Community Center. Reed's wife, June, has designed the tiles.

The city bought the land near Indian Rocks Road last fall for $260,000.

The center is to be a place for people to attend classes, meetings, wedding receptions and other types of parties, said Margaret Talach, a member of the fund-raising organization.

The center will include a large community room with seating capacity of 170. Two smaller meeting rooms, a kitchen and several storage rooms also are planned.

Reed told commissioners the fund-raising group would pay $9,300 to remove some old buildings on the site. The city will trim the trees and turn the property into a passive park with benches and picnic tables until the Community Center organization is ready to build. If the fund-raising drive is unsuccessful, the property is likely to remain a park or it could be used for other purposes such as new city hall, city officials have said.

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