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Oldsmar areas to clean up their act

For most of their young lives, Vera Page and her friends have been lured by postcard-perfect sunsets to the tip of Old Tampa Bay. It's their very own Inspiration Point.

But the spot they call Power Beach on Shore Drive no longer remains a collection of undisturbed palms and palmettos. It has become a dumping ground of sorts for beer bottles and other debris.

Amid the brush Wednesday were tread-worn tires and broken glass as Page and her friends spent another afternoon swimming and tossing Frisbees and hanging out. Though they had Budweisers of their own, they said, they kept their emptied bottles in back of a Toyota pickup.

"We don't try to make it worse than it is because it's bad," said Page, 22. "People just don't respect nature anymore."

The beach _ slightly north of Florida Power Corp.'s generating plant _ should lose its clutter by the weekend. Teams of anti-litter volunteers will pick up trash here Saturday and in two other sections of Oldsmar.

The city's cleanup campaign is part of a 4-month-old program known as Adopt-A-Street. Instead of the usual civic groups and businesses picking up garbage, however, residents in general have been asked to help out Saturday.

"First of all, it gets people aware of the debris that is around," Oldsmar Vice Mayor Rosemary Wiseman said. "When you're riding around in your car, you don't see it like you do when you're bending down to pick it up."

The cleanup Saturday originally targeted Power Beach after a woman complained to Mayor Jerry Provenzano and other City Council members about the dangers of broken bottles and twisted cans.

"I know the wheels of government turn slowly, but we would appreciate it if we could act on this soon before summer is over for the kids," resident Susan Vale wrote in a May letter to the mayor.

So Provenzano and Wiseman asked Marie Wiberg to organize a cleanup. Wiberg, a secretary in the Public Works Department, is coordinator of the city's litter-control project and former executive director of Keep Pinellas County Beautiful.

As she was planning the cleanup, she learned two other areas needed the attention of volunteers as well: Forest Lakes Boulevard and Buckingham Avenue.

"It all just fell together," Wiberg said Wednesday. The city will provide trash bags and orange vests for volunteers.

In April, 18 volunteers picked up trash along Forest Lakes Boulevard as part of a statewide effort on Earth Day. The haul after three hours included an old refrigerator and saved Oldsmar about $280 by using volunteers instead of city workers, Wiberg said.

Of particular concern, though, is the beach. The area is outside the city limits, and Provenzano has sent a letter to County Commissioner Steve Seibert asking whether larger trash containers can be put in.

That would be good news for Page and her friends.

"There's everything from beer bottles to Pepsi cans to cigarette butts all over the place," said Skip Clipper, 24. "This is the only place we have left _ where we can hang out and not get messed with. We want to keep it that way."

Meetings

Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. in three locations Saturday for the cleanup. They are Forest Lakes Recreation Center in Forest Lakes _ call Debbie Letz at 855-7298; Community United Methodist Church at 207 Buckingham Ave E _ call Brian Smith at 855-5588; and the beach north of the Florida Power Corp. plant on Shore Drive _ call Marie Wiberg at 855-4693.

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