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Dunedin mayor: Start planning for life without Blue Jays


Mayor has no illusions about the Blue Jays

Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers' weekly phone checkins with Toronto Blue Jays president Paul Beeston haven't persuaded the team to extend its spring training contract in Dunedin beyond 2017.

In an Aug. 8 email to the city manager and parks and recreation director, the mayor said Beeston had revealed that the Jays were sending a representative to Palm Beach Gardens on Florida's east coast to discuss plans for a proposed joint stadium for the Jays and Houston Astros.

"He was told that the Astros seemed close to working out the terms and conditions," Eggers wrote. "… I got the distinct impression that if 'things' work out on the east coast we, the residents and his fellow Canadians, might not even get the opportunity to try and keep the Jays in their home of 36+ years."

Eggers urged city staff to start preparing a City Commission meeting discussion item outlining how they are "planning for life after the Jays."

"I am not trying to sound negative," Eggers wrote, "but I have yet to get one positive signal of dialogues to come or true consideration for Dunedin to be their home for another couple of decades."

Eggers copied Beeston on the email in case he wanted to clear up any misinterpretations. Beeston didn't reply.

Expansion to begin at the Fine Art Center

The Dunedin Fine Art Center will break ground Tuesday on a $2.9 million renovation and expansion project.

The ceremony, to be held at 10 a.m. on the art center's city-owned campus at 1143 Michigan Blvd., will feature remarks by Dunedin Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski as well as the fine art center's president, Charles Klein.

Contractors will renovate 3,686 square feet of existing art center space and add a 7,306-square-foot wing that will house a gallery, four studios/classrooms and an updated gift shop and Palm Cafe in preparation for a summer 2014 opening.

The project, designed by Collman & Karsky Architects of Tampa and built by J. Kokolakis Contracting of Tarpon Springs, is the third of a four-phase expansion. The city pledged a half-million dollars toward the center's effort to privately raise at least $1 million by this summer and thus qualify for a rare $500,000 two-to-one matching grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.

For more information on the groundbreaking, call Ken Hannon at (727) 298-3322.

Learn about edible plants at workshop

"Florida Friendly IncrEdibles," the Dunedin Community Garden Association's latest workshop, will focus on edible plants. The public is invited to the free hour-long session, which is set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road.

Keynote speaker, horticulturist and ethnobotanist Jacklyn Rhea will teach attendees the difference between growing a grocery plot vs. a foraging plot, share ideas for incorporating produce into the landscape and more.

For more information, visit dunedin or call Debby Sheldon at (727) 734-3185.


Top professionals part of Not for Profit day

You have until 5 p.m. Friday to register for the Tampa Bay region's third annual Not for Profit Workshop.

The free day-long event, presented by philanthropists Dr. Zena Lansky and her husband, Warren Rodgers, will be held at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for Performing Arts in Tampa from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 29. Lunch and a 7:30 a.m. continental breakfast, both complimentary, are included.

Attendees will hear presentations and participate in breakout sessions on topics such as marketing and fundraising, grant writing, financial reporting and best practices.

The seminars will be led by 22 of the bay area's top not-for-profit professionals including University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Community Foundation of Tampa Bay president Marlene Spalten.

Space is limited and registration is required at Organizers say 910 people representing 467 organizations attended last year's event.

For more information, call (727) 481-7947, or email co-founder Warren Rodgers at or executive assistant Sharron Robbins at


Residents, share ideas on parks and recreation

The city of Clearwater is updating its master plan for its parks and recreation system and would like residents' input.

Residents are invited to drop in any time between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. for a community open house. Upcoming dates and locations are Wednesday, Ross Norton Recreation and Aquatic Complex, 1426 S Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Thursday at the North Greenwood Recreation and Aquatic Complex, 900 N Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

City staff members will be present to answer questions and collect input.