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Downtown Tarpon Springs to bloom with benches

The City Commission voted Tuesday to spend about $12,800 for 60 benches downtown, despite some residents' concerns that the wooden benches would not fit in with the Victorian motif of the historic district. The Main Street Association had asked the commission for the 6-foot-long benches, which will be constructed by the company that built the traditional "St. Petersburg GreenBench." About 30 of the benches will have planters attached for flowers, which the Main Street Association will maintain. The money for the benches came from unspent funds already designated for downtown.

Live Oak Street project

condemnation approved

TARPON SPRINGS _ After more than a year of fruitless negotiations, the City Commission authorized Tuesday the condemnation of the last piece of property it needs to lengthen and rebuild a portion of Live Oak Street. But the city's attorney plans to continue negotiating to avoid a possible court fight. "I remain hopeful that we can come to an agreement, but should things fail, I'll have to pursue it in court," City Attorney Alexander Rhodes said. The property, just over three-fourths of an acre at the west end of the existing stretch of Live Oak Street, is needed for a retention pond. The city and the property owner, Phil Gross of Chicago, have agreed on a price of $112,500, but Gross is unhappy with how the pond could affect drainage on the remaining piece of his property.