1. Archive


Re: Room to fly, story July 27

I read your article about the skateboard parks in North Pinellas County and wondered why you did not inform your readers about the only real modern skate park that is currently under construction in Dunedin.

The modular skate parks you featured are nice and they do provide a place for the skateboarders in their communities to safely practice their sport, but the concrete park being built in Dunedin is the first of its kind in the area since the late 1970s.

The park is being constructed by Team Pain, a Florida-based company that has built high-quality modern concrete skate parks all over the world.

My position is that the cities in Pinellas County like Clearwater, Largo, Seminole and especially St. Petersburg need to follow the lead of Dunedin and build state-of-the-art concrete skate parks that will last for decades.

To sum it up, you missed the real story in a big way. I hope you will be at the grand opening celebration for the new Dunedin Skate Park on Sept. 15. That might be a good time to write the article about how local cities should be building these types of parks. Better investments, because concrete lasts forever.

If you want to see some pictures of the park under construction, go to, go to the news section and look over on the left side. Scroll down to see updates on the Dunedin park construction.

David Adams, Dunedin

Re: Room to fly story July 27

Temporary parks aren't the answer

I read this with great interest. As a 46-year-old former pro skateboarder, still skating and involved with the skating community, I feel there is much more to print. I co-founded Boards for Bros, a charity where we give skateboards to needy kids.

The parks you promoted are stop-gap parks at best. These are gimmick and temporary parks foisted on budget-conscious cities by ramp manufacturers and are not a good investment. Sarasota and now Dunedin are doing it right.

Ed Womble, Clearwater

Re: It's just a smoky sewer test - story, July 28

Sewer system

maintained well

While we appreciate the public information value of the above article, there was a misleading quote (by former mayor Anita Protos) at the end of the article that requires a clarification.

The quote suggests that the city has not been actively maintaining its sewer system. The following information serves to dispel that notion and provide information on our maintenance program.

The Public Services Department for the last 10 years has been striving to develop a highly professional, qualified and technologically advanced utilities program. A part of this proactive program is the maintenance of our sewer system.

Here is a summary of some of the activities and achievements related to our sewer system maintenance program:

In 1999, the Tarpon Springs city manager and the Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of a Closed Circuit Television Truck (CCTV) to be used by staff for inspection of the city's sewer system. The system is state of the art, using remote-controlled cameras to inspect the interior of sewer lines and similar to the equipment utilized by other major utilities. The system is a significant improvement in our ability to troubleshoot problems while identifying preventive maintenance needs to prevent future problems.

The CCTV system remains in continuous use today with several more improvements and upgrades to make it even more effective. The following items are achieved with this system:

- Detailed visual inspection of infrastructure

- Prioritizing repairs

- Identifying infiltration and inflow sources

- Locating connection points

In addition to in-house staff performing inspections and repairs, the city has used the services of specialized, experienced contractors when most cost effective to achieve system repairs. Following is a partial list of some of the work completed from November 2000 to present:

Infrastructure upgrades:

- Line replacement: 6,000 linear feet

- Liner installed: 60,000 linear feet (more than 11 miles)

- Manholes replaced: 9

- Manholes grouted: 6

- Manholes lined: 52

We have established a proactive preventive cleaning, TV and maintenance program. (Numbers reflect activities since 2005)

- Cleaning totals: 661,000 lf

- TV inspection totals: 154,000 lf

The city has purchased specific equipment to most efficiently inspect, locate and repair the collection system:

- Purchased CAT 311 Excavator

- Upgraded Cues TV truck software to Granite XP

- Upgraded Cues TV truck with LAMP System (main line camera with lateral extender)

- Upgraded lateral inspection equipment (purchased two Aries Seeker Camera Systems)

- Purchased a second lateral cleaning Jet Trailer

- New Geographical Information System electronic mapping system

- Purchased a second Vac-Con hydraulic jet cleaning truck

Additionally, the city has established a response and evaluation program for backed up sewers and odor complaints. Responding personnel provide immediate assistance as needed, evaluate the situation utilizing TV inspection equipment, and schedule any necessary repairs. Staff takes great pride in responding to overflows and backups within 30 minutes and odor complaints within one hour. This has proven to be extremely effective in providing excellent customer satisfaction and nearly eliminating return visits for the same problems.

During the time from November 2000 to December 2004, more than $1.25-million was utilized to repair problems discovered in the sanitary sewer system that could not be rehabilitated through the slip-lining program.

The smoke testing referred to in the article represents only the latest phase of a dedicated sewer system maintenance program. The smoke testing complements our earlier work by identifying remaining portions of the system requiring repair. As a demonstration of our commitment and the effectiveness of our sewer line maintenance program, the city remains in compliance with regulatory requirements for sewer system operation, maintenance and management.

Juan Cruz, public services director, Tarpon Springs