The long-anticipated opening of Wall Springs Park will happen today with a formal dedication and ribbon-cutting for the first phase of park development.
The dedication ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with comments from county commissioners and park board officials. Afterward, the ceremony will move to the Pinellas Trail, where officials will unveil a decorative sundial in memory of Karen Anne Edwards, a former assistant county attorney who was stabbed to death while vacationing in Boston in 1989. Members of Edwards' family are expected to attend. Edwards was instrumental in helping Pinellas County secure the Wall Springs property, said Elizabeth Warren, director of the county parks department.
The first phase of park construction includes restrooms, park benches, bike racks, drinking fountains and parking. Future development will include picnic shelters, a playground area, a boardwalk and nature trail, more parking and restrooms, a canoe and kayak launch and a 35-foot observation tower. After a ribbon-cutting, lemonade and cookies will be served and park rangers will be available to give tours. Wall Springs Park is at 3725 De Soto Blvd., a mile north of Alderman Road, off Alt. U.S. 19.
Man found in channel is in critical condition
A man found floating in a channel near Anclote Park was in critical condition Thursday at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.
Hospital clergy and Pasco County sheriff's deputies were searching for the man's family Thursday. Near where he fell into the water was a bag that had a Veteran's Administration medical card identifying him as James J. Martin, 54. He slipped, hit his head on a rock and fell into the water Wednesday afternoon, witnesses said.
He was pulled from the water by Ryan Vena, 19, of Palm Harbor and Tim Rutledge, 22, of New Port Richey. Vena and Rutledge performed CPR on Martin and had him breathing before paramedics arrived and put him on a medical helicopter.
Council approves site for BMX racing facility
OLDSMAR _ After being stalled for about a year, the city's effort to build a BMX racing facility at Canal Park is back on track.
City Council members approved on Tuesday a new location for the facility near the entrance to the sports complex on Tampa Road. The proposal hit a snag last year because plans called for the bicycle facility to be built toward the back of Canal Park on land owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. That agency denied the city permission to build the track.
The BMX facility and track, which will take up about 1.8 acres, will be moved closer to Tampa Road and will take the place of planned tennis and basketball courts. The city has been offered a $50,000 grant from the American Bicycle Association to build the facility.
Officials, communications reps to discuss towers
TARPON SPRINGS _ Representatives from the city and personal communication companies decided this week to discuss whether Tarpon Springs needs to allow communication towers in the western part of the city.
City Attorney John Hubbard told city commissioners Tuesday night that they may need to be more accommodating to towers in order to comply with federal communications laws. Representatives of personal communication companies have complained that there are few places where towers would be allowed under city zoning laws that would allow them to serve customers with PCS phones.