1. News

Work will soon start on county's new public safety complex in Largo

Published Sep. 11, 2012

LARGO — Work will start soon on Pinellas County's new $81 million public safety complex on Ulmerton Road, which nearly prompted a legal battle between the city and the county last year.

The revelation last year that Largo would charge the county $205,000 more in permitting and inspection fees than the county would charge itself prompted a monthslong legal debate between the two sides. They eventually agreed to split the permitting work and do it at the county's rates.

Largo issued the final permit last month for the complex, which will replace the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office administration building at 10750 Ulmerton Road.

Foundation work should start shortly, according to Paul Sacco, the county's director of real estate management. The project has a 26-month timetable, which means finishing in late 2014.

The Sheriff's Office administration building will be demolished as part of the work. It will be replaced with a three-story, 218,000-square-foot building that will also house the 911 dispatch center and the county's emergency operations center, currently located in downtown Clearwater.

Plans also call for a four-story, 1,300-vehicle parking garage, an energy plant for the complex and a vehicle maintenance building, all built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

Sacco said he doesn't expect construction to have much of an impact on traffic on Ulmerton Road, which is already undergoing a two-year road-widening project that won't end until late 2013. The new complex probably won't have much of an economic impact on Largo either, since there will only be a few dozen more full-time employees working there.

Still, Largo Community Development director Carol Stricklin sees positives in Pinellas County moving vital operations to Largo.

"Pinellas County is making a significant investment, so that's always a positive for the community," she said.

The squabble over permit fees spurred the county to pass the so-called "pre-emption" ordinance last fall, which exempted facilities of "countywide significance" — like courthouses, county parks, and health and welfare facilities — from city regulations.

Officials from cities that house county facilities complained that the ordinance gave the county carte blanche to do whatever it wanted in city limits, like put digital billboards on county buildings in St. Petersburg.

County officials said those concerns were overhyped, but declined to scrap the ordinance as Largo City Manager Mac Craig and others requested. Instead, the county staff negotiated an agreement with Largo for permitting for this project. St. Petersburg is still negotiating a similar agreement with the county.

"It's really a great example of interlocal cooperation," Stricklin said, "that we were able to sit down and negotiate an agreement."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or


  1. Elvis Presley gets a close-up look at one of the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids during a visit to the park in 1961. HANDOUT  |  WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS
    From its iconic mermaids to its signature statue, Weeki Wachee Springs will be considered for historic designation.
  2. Preliminary plans for a splash park in Dade City, made possible by a recent city purchase of land for the park. Dade City
    City commissioners on Tuesday agreed to purchase land for the park and looked over early plans for the site.
  3. Milwaukee Police Officer Kevin Zimmermann bought car seats for Andrella "Lashae" Jackson's two youngest children and then installed them in her car. Facebook
    But he didn’t stop there. Milwaukee Police Officer Kevin Zimmermann also installed the seats in the woman’s car.
  4. Washington Nationals' Trea Turner, right, steals second with Houston Astros' Carlos Correa covering during the first inning of Game 1 of the baseball World Series Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    It’s part of Taco Bell’s, “Steal a base, Steal a Taco” promotion.
  5. Hernando County Government Center
    Neighbors worry about the impact on their equestrian community.
  6. Authorities found 29-year-old Sharee Bradley stabbed to death on Aug. 5. The chief says she had three children; the 12-year-old and 3-year-old were found safe, but Nevaeh had disappeared. Sumter Police Department/Facebook
    DNA from the remains found Friday has been matched to Nevaeh Adams, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark told reporters.
  7. Cars back up at a Tampa intersection last October, not long before Hillsborough County voters approved a one-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. This week, local officials detailed how the money would be spent, if the tax survives a legal challenge before the Florida Supreme Court. URSO, CHRIS  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Local governments have plans for $527 million in projects. But the Florida Supreme Court would need to clear the way.
  8. FILE - In this Sunday, April 22, 2018, file photo, a statue of a chained man is on display at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a new memorial to honor thousands of people killed in racist lynchings, in Montgomery, Ala. Facing an impeachment inquiry that he and supporters claim is illegal, President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, that the process is a lynching. Some Republicans agree, but the relatives of actual lynching victims don’t. BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP
    Made in a tweet that drew backing from some Republican supporters including Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Trump’s claim was ill-informed at best and racist at worst, they said.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    Damien Wiggins Jr. was found with a gunshot wound in the parking lot of a vacant business on Haines Road.
  10. FILE - In this Aug. 15, 2018 file photo, Florida school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz listens during a status check on his case at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. As his death penalty trial draws closer, a hearing is set for school shooting defendant Cruz in the 2018 massacre that killed 17 people. The hearing Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, likely concerns the setting of timelines leading up to the planned January trial of the 21-year-old Cruz. AMY BETH BENNETT  |  AP
    The hearing Wednesday likely concerns the setting of timelines leading up to the planned January trial of the 21-year-old Cruz.