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North Pinellas News Briefs for Sunday, Sept. 22

A referendum will determine if the city can enter negotiations to lease the property where City Hall now stands to the new Clearwater Marine Aquarium for 60 years.
A referendum will determine if the city can enter negotiations to lease the property where City Hall now stands to the new Clearwater Marine Aquarium for 60 years.
Published Sep. 20, 2013


Her plea: Keep some beach parking free

A Clearwater Beach restaurant server appealed to the Clearwater City Council on Thursday to preserve free parking on the beach to help low-wage beach workers and low-income beachgoers.

Elizabeth Makowski, 33, who lives in Palm Harbor and works the day shift at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, spoke for three minutes, saying that beach employees are important.

"We are the ones who welcome, serve and accommodate visitors to this wonderful area," Makowski said.

The city is currently reviewing a plan to eliminate 200 or so free parking spots along beach streets. Mostly used by workers at beach businesses, these spots will be metered if the plan advances.

The city has three designated lots where workers who have decals can park. But there aren't enough spaces, Makowski said, and the $40 monthly decal fee ($60 during peak season) is too expensive.

"Do the right thing … We are counting on you," she told the council.

No council member responded to her comments during the meeting. City Manager Bill Horne said earlier the plan is still under review.

Aquarium referendum ballots being sent out

Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark said 304 ballots for the Nov. 5 city referendum on a new Clearwater Marine Aquarium were mailed Friday to overseas and military voters.

About 27,000 more ballots are scheduled to be mailed Oct. 1 to Clearwater voters who have requested mail ballots, said Nancy Whitlock, Clark's spokeswoman.

Ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. Nov. 5.

The referendum will determine if the city can enter negotiations to lease the downtown waterfront property where City Hall now stands to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for 60 years.

CMA wants to build a new $160.5 million aquarium on the property. The aquarium would pay $7.5 million to the city for a new City Hall, generating the sum through a 50-cent-per-ticket surcharge. After paying the $7.5 million, CMA would pay $250,000 to the city for each year remaining on the lease.

Safety Harbor

Developer buys 2 acres downtown

A developer with plans to build a seven-story condominium in downtown Safety Harbor has purchased a 2-acre property for $1.5 million.

Farhod Nikjeh bought the land at the high-visibility intersection at S Bayshore Boulevard and Main Street from Wells Fargo, which took over the property after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy.

The first two floors of the condo are expected to be a parking garage. Nikjeh also previously said he wants to build six single-family homes off Iron Age Street, facing Second Street S. The condominium proposal stirred city controversy in 2008 when the City Commission granted the permits.

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USF St. Petersburg to host open house

Students considering the University of South Florida St. Petersburg for their undergraduate education are invited to an open house at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Students and their parents can tour the campus, hear presentations on admissions, financial aid and housing and meet deans, faculty and students.

Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. at the University Student Center, 200 Sixth Ave S. Visitors can park free at the USFSP parking garage, 250 Fifth Ave. S.

For more information, call (727) 873-4436 or visit


2 awards go to parks and rec department

The City of Dunedin's Parks & Recreation Department staff and volunteers received two awards from the Florida Recreation and Park Association at its annual conference Aug. 29 in Orlando.

FRPA is a statewide nonprofit organization that represents local government parks and recreation interests in the state.

Dunedin received recognition in the Media Excellence and Individual Voluntary Service award categories.

The Individual Voluntary Service award was presented to Dr. Louis Alan Zagar, who was nominated by Jorie Peterson, Dunedin Community Center program coordinator. Dr. Zagar volunteers long hours with the Parks & Recreation Department overseeing the Dunedin Concert Band program. The band's productions are so popular that additional performance dates have been added.

The city's Dunedin Magazine, which showcases the city's recreational opportunities, won the Media Excellence award in the Print Catalogue category. Nichole Allen, special projects coordinator, produces the magazine, which has been improved with cleaner lines, inspirational messages and visually appealing pictures and graphics to engage readers.

The magazine is published three times a year, along with a separate Summer Camp Guide, and is available at recreation centers, the Dunedin Library, government offices and local partners such as golf courses and the Chamber of Commerce. It also is posted on the city's website,

Zagar and Allen will be recognized for their contributions and efforts at the City Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at City Hall, 542 Main St.

Senior safety topic of classes

Dunedin's Hale Activity Center, 330 Douglas Ave., has a couple of safety seminars planned for seniors this week.

• On Monday and Thursday, AARP will host a safe driving class for motorists 55 and older who want to improve their skills and prevent accidents. The cost is $12 for AARP members or $14 for nonmembers. Call Shaine Harvester at (727) 733-9140 to register.

• At 10 a.m. Tuesday, the American Red Cross will lead a free class on preventing falls.

According to a news release, Pinellas County leads the state in fall-related injuries. Falls are the leading cause of injury, death and hospitalization for residents older than 65.

This class will teach how to get up from a fall along with balance and safety tips. Call (727) 298-3299 for information.


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