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Clearwater : Development News

43 Clearwater Articles | Page: | Show All

Cristino's Coal-Oven Pizza Opens In Ybor City

After four years in Clearwater, the Cristino brothers -- Lenny, Marco and Joe -- found the perfect spot in Ybor City for their second Cristino's Coal-Oven Pizza and Italian restaurant.
 
"It brings the Old World back to Ybor," says Lenny Cristino.
 
The brothers had been searching for a long while for the right location, he says, and opted to renovate a vacant site at 1701 Eighth Avenue. Previously the building was operated as Spurs, a country bar with line dancing, and Play, a bar and live music venue.
 
The restaurant has an approximately 12-member staff.
 
The Cristinos hired award-winning architect Elliott Wheeler, owner of Elliott Wheeler Architect to give the restaurant a warm, Old World feel, and oversee installation of the brick coal-fired oven. Owner Lenny Cristino says the oven is one-of-a-kind cooking feature in Florida.
 
"That was a big challenge," says Wheeler who is based in Ybor City. "It's not a typical architectural feature."
 
It had to meet the design requirements of the Cristinos as well as city code, he says.
 
Wheeler primarily does design work for the hospitality industry and hotels including the Radisson Aquatic Barbados and Courtyard Marriott Savannah.
 
In addition to its use as bars, Wheeler says the building's history goes back decades, and also has seen used as offices and probably a convenience store
 
 In addition to indoor seating, Cristino's has an outdoor patio and bar. 
 
Cristino's menu features homemade pastas including Italian traditional dishes of ravioli and lasagna as well as a homemade vodka sauce for their penne vodka dish. Cold and hot paninis, chicken wings and salads also are available. Coal-oven pizzas are a specialty again made from scratch with homemade ingredients including tomato sauce and mozzarella. For dessert, there are homemade cheesecakes, cannoli and gelato slowed churn at the restaurant.
 
Cristino's also provides catering services.
 
Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Lenny Cristino, Cristino's; Architect Elliott Wheeler

City Of Tarpon Springs Seeks Bids To Improve Sponge Docks

The City of Tarpon Springs is moving ahead with plans to seek bids to refurbish the historical sponge docks in this Greek-style seaside village along the Anclote River.
 
Bids are expected to be reviewed before the end of March. If the city's Board of Commissioners agree on the scope and cost of the project, construction likely will begin by summer. About $1.3 million is projected for  a budget that will pay for a small oval-shaped amphitheater, a floating dock for visitors including kayakers, an 8-foot wide wooden riverwalk, benches along the seawall, Florida native landscaping, wooden directional and historical markers and brick elements along Dodocanese Boulevard and around the docks.
 
Wood and brick are historically accurate features for the sponge docks, according to Ed Hoffman, Jr., president of Tarpon Springs-based Hoffman Architects. "We're putting the docks back in the sponge docks," Hoffman says. "Right now, it's just a concrete wharf, a concrete platform."
 
The goal is to make the sponge docks more pedestrian-friendly and create a shaded, landscaped area where people want to gather for Greek dances, special events or just sit and enjoy the docks, Hoffman says.
 
Hoffman gave commissioners and the public an update on the project at a December city commission meeting. The project has been under design for about two years with public input gathered during several workshops.
 
Funds for the project are from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenues. Changes are slated for publicly owned land; no private property is involved. Construction bids will be a guide on how much of the project is affordable.
 
"What we want to do is try to enhance what we have there," says Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie.
 
Still, some residents and business owners are skeptical and worry that the authenticity and quaintness of the docks will be lost. "It's too modern for what we have down there," says former Tarpon Springs Mayor Anita Protos.
 
The project is unanimously supported by city commissioners.
 
"I can't wait to see the finished product," says Tarpon Springs Vice-Mayor Susan Slattery. She anticipates the amphitheater, in particular,  as a field trip destination for young children who will learn about the city's history and the legacy of the Greek sponge divers who came to Tarpon Springs in the 1890s. "I think that's a great opportunity for children," Slattery says.
 
Commissioner Townsend Tarapani says the project "looks toward the future. Without a doubt, at the end of the day, this is something everyone is going to be proud of."

Writer: Kathy Steele
Sources: Susan Slattery, Anita Protos, David Archie, City of Tarpon Springs
 

Construction Begins On New Transit Center In Pinellas Park

Bus riders will have an easier time of figuring out schedules and making connections when the new Pinellas Park Transit
Center opens in the summer of 2014.

CHTR Development, LLC, is in charge of construction after winning the contract with a low bid of $359,000. The new facility will replace the current transit center at 70th Avenue North behind the Shoppes at Park Place.

It will be manned with transit employees who can sell tickets and provide information at a customer service window. There also will be restrooms and water fountains for the hundreds of riders who get on and off the buses. It will be the first time central Pinellas has had such a fully equipped center, says Bob Lasher, spokesman for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

The new transit center is an effort to modernize bus service and increase ridership.

In November 2014 voters will have a chance to vote on a referendum for a 1 percent sales tax to pay for a 30-year plan to improve transit service and potentially have light rail service connecting St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Bob Lasher, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority

New Clearwater Apartments Target Homeless Veterans

Providing a place of healing and sanctuary for military veterans experiencing the aftereffects of war, Tampa Bay's Homeless Emergency Project recently celebrated the opening of a new housing development, HEP West Apartment Community.

As one of the largest providers of housing services for veterans in the area, HEP opened its new 3-acre, 32-apartment community with a focus on getting both male and female veterans "all the way home.'' HEP's target population includes 20- and 30-somethings returning back to the states from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Our mission is to provide homeless and very low income individuals and families with housing, food, clothing and the support services necessary to obtain self-sufficiency and improved quality of life,'' says HEP Director of Marketing Ashley Chango. "Our goal is to help people help themselves.''

Klar & Klar of Clearwater acted as architect on the project and Bradley Construction of Clearwater as general contractor. Funding for HEP West was made possible through a combination of government and private foundation grants, as well as private and corporate donors.

Rated four stars by Charity Navigator, the organization is located on an 8-acre campus in Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood and currently serves about 400 men, women and children on a daily basis.

In 2012, the local organization served 1,689 people, including 660 veterans, 63 families and 143 children, according to Chango.

"Our vision is to be the last shelter any individual, family or veteran ever has to enter,'' she says. "With an 87 percent success rate of HEP residents obtaining independent housing the community upon discharge of our program, we're well on our way.''

And the new West Community will aid HEP in making strides towards its goal.

Located in the heart of Clearwater, the community features 32 brand new 500-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment homes. Fully furnished, each unit includes a private bedroom, bath, central HVAC, storage and kitchen with new appliances.

The landscaped grounds encourage residents to relax, socialize and exercise in a tranquil, park-like setting featuring a 2,300-square-foot club house. A 24-hour security team will be featured on-site, as well as case managers and five full-time addiction and mental health counselors funded by a federal grant.

HEP also provides round-trip transportation to St. Pete's Bay Pines VA Medical Center.

"We're the only service agency of its kind,'' Chango says. "Our program is truly one-of-a-kind, and HEP West is just a part of the homeless population that we serve. We won't consider out work to be done until we can end homelessness for good.''

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Ashley Chango, Homeless Emergency Project

Love Your City? Participate In Local Tactical Urbanism Workshop

Urbanists from all over the Tampa Bay region are invited to participate in a Tactical Urbanism Movement workshop on Wednesday, October 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The Beck Group, 220 West 7th Avenue, in Tampa.

Tactical Urbanism is a rapidly growing international movement of small-scale, temporary, low-cost, high-reward actions that lead to an immediate improvement in a community's public life, often followed by long-term urban interventions. Guerilla Gardening, Pavement-to-Parks or Reclaiming a Parking Space are some of the examples of Tactical Urbanism that are currently being applied by citizens in many U.S. cities.
 
The local Tactical Urbanism Workshop is coordinated by the Sun Coast Section of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association, in collaboration with the Congress for New Urbanism-Tampa Bay. Mike Lydon, an internationally recognized planner, writer and an advocate for livable cities, will lead the workshop.

"It will be exciting to be a part of this urban place-making movement that is currently sweeping our country's major cities,'' says Lauren Matzke, a Clearwater City Planner and the workshop's main coordinator.

As a part of the workshop, participants will get hands-on experience in planning and intervening on an actual site in Downtown Tampa. Apart from promising a fun planning experience, the workshop also intends to train the participants on how to plan, fund and carry out these projects throughout the Tampa Bay region.

The event is expected to draw a variety of participants such as engaged citizens, stakeholders, designers, engineers, urban planners, students, local leaders, government officials and other advocates who are passionate about their city and urban experiences. You can RSVP here.

Tactical Urbanism was named as one of the top trends in 2012 by the urban planning website Planetizen. Implementation of this movement in the Tampa Bay region is expected to inspire innovative planning ideas, urban interventions and collaborations.

Writer: Vinod Kadu
Source: Lauren Matzke, City of Clearwater

BIG Boost To Waterfront In Gulfport, Madeira Beach

The cities of Gulfport and Madeira Beach in Pinellas County will soon realize significant improvements for recreational boating and their waterfronts following the award of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG).
 
Both cities, on a project cost basis, received BIG Tier-1 fund totaling $380,750 and $822,066 respectively. The total amount awarded includes the BIG grant and a proportionate amount as non-federal funding.

Gavin Shire, a Public Affairs Specialist with USFWS in Arlington, VA, says the "Tier-1 is a smaller and a noncompetitive program awarded to each applying State, while, Tier-2 is a nationally competitive funding program meant for large-scale projects.''

Funded by the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, the BIG grant gets its revenue from excise taxes collected on fishing equipment, yachts and gasoline.

Gulfport is using the Grant to construct an ADA compliant (Americans With Disabilities Act) floating dock made from composite decking and designed for eight boats.

"Construction is expected to start by January 2014,'' says Denis Frain, Gulfport's Director of Marina Operations. Any unspent funds from the grant will be returned to USFWS after July 2015. According to Frain, "The funded dock will be free of charge and open to the public for use.''

Madeira Beach plans to upgrade its waterfront facilities for vessels, with an increase in 14 slips and four moorings, and other amenities such as pump-out stations and a fuel dock.

Apart from investing in boating infrastructure facilities, both cities may use the funds for production and distribution of educational materials about the program and recreational boating.
 
By creating diverse recreational opportunities, new jobs and a multitude of small businesses, BIG grants can have a significant impact on the local economy.

The BIG grant is crucial to Gulfport, as "it will not only improve boating facilities, but also help the City in its Downtown revitalization efforts,'' says Frain.

Writer: Vinod Kadu
Sources: Gavin Shire, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service; Denis Frain, City of Gulfport

New Trail Along Courtney Campbell Will Be For Bicycling, Walking

The Courtney Campbell Causeway connecting Tampa and Clearwater is undergoing resurfacing improvements and enhancements, including the addition of new pedestrian and bicycle trails physically separated from the road.

The overall $23 million project along State Road 60 is being built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), FDOT received $14.6 million in federal funding, which is dedicated for walking and biking infrastructure, to build the nine-mile trail.

A 12-foot-wide, multiuse pedestrian trail on the south side of the Causeway is expected to be completed in October 2013.  The north side of the Causeway will host a five-foot sidewalk, which is scheduled to open in 2014. 

"The idea for the trail was generated by the Courtney Campbell Scenic Highway Corridor Advisory Committee," says Michelle Ogilvie of the Hillsborough Planning Commission.  "The committee worked with the local Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties and FDOT toward producing a feasibility study for the trail concept in 2008."

The sea level Courtney Campbell Causeway received the Scenic Highway Corridor Designation in 2005. It provides a picturesque and vital link across the body of water called Old Tampa Bay. 

"It’s our brand, our identity and the trail will provide a safe place to enjoy this link," says Ogilvie. "The trail will strengthen the relationship between the counties, ecotourism will expand, and the trail will help forge a regional identity and economy."

The Courtney Campbell Trail will connect existing trail developments on both sides of the Bay, serving as a resource to the region.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Michelle Ogilvie. Hillsborough Planning Commission

Lutz Coffeehouse Expands, Opens New Shop In Palm Harbor

A successful Christian-based coffeehouse in Lutz, a commuter town in Hillsborough County north of Tampa, is making plans for expansion and has opened a second store in Palm Harbor, north of Clearwater in Pinellas County.

With the motto "More Than Just a Coffeehouse,'' Organic Life Coffeehouse offers fresh homemade baked goods, salads and wraps made with organic and locally purchased vegetables, all natural smoothies, and organic fair trade coffee. By day, you'll find a myriad of customers, including business folks conducting one-on-one meetings, people in corners on laptops and moms with their toddlers enjoying a treat. Some evenings live entertainment is added to the mix.

The coffeehouse off of State Road 54 in Lutz has a strong community focus, making it a favored location for group meetings. It was these meetings that sparked the expansion that will include offices and meeting space.

"We have a lot of groups of 10 or 12 people come in, and we don't get a lot of walk-in traffic during that time,'' says Glenn Deller, co-partner and co-owner.

He says he expansion is the result of community partnerships. A storefront a few doors down became vacant, and Deller convinced the children's consignment store next door to move there, making the adjacent space available. A local School of Ministry is financing some of the build out and placing an office in the new space. Local church members are donating time and services.

"We're very happy to be taking care of youth groups, doing community fundraisers, and assisting the community,'' says Deller.

Groups of 10 or more will be able to reserve space for meetings, provided they place a minimum food order while there. The meeting space is scheduled to open in mid-September or early October.

Organic Life's second location is at 35263 U.S. Hwy. 19 N. in Palm Harbor. This was made possible by a financial investment by Deller’s mother and father-in law, Joanne and Larry Davidson, who will be running the second location. Joanne Davidson does a majority of the baking for the current store, and the second location will provide economies of scale for both places. Most of the menu is the same, but the space is smaller with not as much live entertainment.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Glenn Deller, Organic Life Coffeehouse

Clearwater Improves Water At Prospect Lake Park

Construction recently began on an improvement project on Clearwater's Prospect Lake Park.

Located in downtown Clearwater at Prospect Avenue and Franklin Street, the approximately $800,000 project is designed to  improve the water quality of Prospect Lake, which serves as a regional stormwater pond for an area of the downtown district; the pond ultimately discharges into Clearwater Harbor.

According to City of Clearwater Engineering Department Environmental Specialist Sarah Josuns, sediment has built up in Prospect Lake. Using a dredge to remove the sediment, the lake will also be expanded to the south; various wetland plants will also be added to the south end of the pond.

“With the expansion of the lake, stormwater will have additional detention time while the new littoral shelf with wetland plants will have an opportunity to absorb nutrients,” Josuns says. “Stormwater is directed to this lake so many properties in the area do not need to have their own pond.”

Funded by stormwater utility fees, the sediment removal phase is already underway and is expected to be complete by early December 2012. The second phase including pond expansion and wetland plantings will begin in early 2013. Phase two is slated to take about six months, with completion planned for July 2013.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Sarah Josuns, City of Clearwater

City of Clearwater Makes Plans To Improve U.S. 19

The U.S. 19 corridor in Clearwater is about to become more attractive, successful and sustainable.

Preliminary plans are in the works to improve the Clearwater stretch of U.S. 19 because conditions along the main north-south road have changed dramatically over the past several years.

According to Cate Lee, planner at the City's Planning and Development Department, recent construction has begun hurting some businesses dependent on impulse customers relying on direct access from U.S. 19. The City's new plans will allow and incentivize investment in properties located along the corridor that may be prohibited or discouraged now under current plans or codes.

“The City of Clearwater is undertaking this planning process to set the framework for development post-Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) roadway improvements,” Lee says. “The plan that will be the end result of the current study will guide growth along the corridor for the next few decades.”

Offering recommendations on a wide range of topics from land use to urban design and mobility to sustainability, the final report will promote more sustainable forms and patterns of development by improving vehicle, pedestrian and bike connections throughout Clearwater.

Currently, the study area includes the segments of the U.S. 19 corridor from Belleair Road north to Curlew Road while considering the future of Gulf to Bay Boulevard, Drew Street and North McMullen Booth Road.

“This planning effort takes a long range view of the corridor: What is the future? What types of land use and development do people who, work, play and shop along the corridor want to see?,” Lee says. “The roadway improvements allow for greater regional connectivity to Tampa and south Pinellas and north Pasco counties.”

Lee stresses the importance of taking advantage of the corridor plans and improvements to create more jobs and quality places for residents to live, work and play. The City expects final planning and approval of the plan by the end of Summer 2012 with the final adoption by City Council by Fall 2012.

Want to have a say in the changes made along the corridor? The City is encouraging feedback from those who regularly use the Clearwater portion of U.S. 19 to help identify problems, offer ideas and suggest possible solutions via an online discussion board.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Cate Lee, City of Clearwater

Design Styles Architecture Moving To Ybor City, Tampa

A boarded-up 72-year-old Ybor City grocery that helped feed cigar workers and their families will reopen as the headquarters for a Clearwater architecture firm.

Choosing 1708 E. Columbus Dr. to develop its new headquarters, Design Styles Architecture plans to do a $300,000 renovation of an old 1930s Ybor V.M. grocery store before moving its operations and employees to Tampa. The East Tampa Community Redevelopment Agency awarded the firm a $50,000 Façade Grant which will help provide funding to rehabilitate the exterior of the new office.

“Working in an office park in Clearwater just didn't seem to show off our firm's character,” says Jason Dickens, Design Styles' director of operations. “With an office full of creative people and clients with a desire to create something unique, 1708 E. Columbus Dr. seemed like the perfect building to help in fostering that creativity.”

According to Dickens, through more than eight years of vacancy, the building sustained extensive termite damage and a fire, destroying a good portion of the roof. Design Styles plans to secure all of the structural elements to ensure the building's safety before taking advantage of the history both inside and outside of the building.

“Our intentions are to restore the building to look very closely to the way it did in the 1930s,” Dickens says. “Over the past few years, Columbus Drive has experienced a dramatic turnaround as businesses buy and renovate buildings to open their businesses. Design Styles is just another piece to bringing the area back to the place it was in the early 1900s.”

Currently, Design Styles works out of a 1,700-square-foot building located at 2907 S.R. 590 in Suite 7 in Clearwater. The firm's move to Ybor City will nearly triple its operations size: The 1930s Columbus Drive building is approximately 5,000 square feet. The renovation project is expected to take less than one year.

“We are very excited about taking ownership of this building and becoming a part of the Ybor City and East Tampa community,” Dickens says. “We look forward to the opportunities ahead of us.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Jason Dickens, Design Styles Architecture

Tarpon Springs Plans Sponge Dock Improvements

Residents of Tarpon Springs, the future of the beloved Sponge Docks is in your hands.

Dedicating approximately $1 million toward a community outreach improvement project, the City of Tarpon Springs has hired locally based Hoffman Architects to work with the community to develop a conceptual design for the docks.

Currently, the two-phase project is in its beginning stages -- the “Public Involvement and Preliminary Design” phase -- as Hoffman Architects holds interviews and workshops with various stakeholders, boaters, shrimpers, spongers and merchants throughout the area.

“Our goal is to get their input on what they think is needed -- their vision, concerns and what they'd like to see,” says Todd Willsie, senior architect at Hoffman Architects. “Taking all the information we've received, we've started doing some master planning.”

While Willsie and the rest of the Hoffman Architects crew works on a design for the docks, a community workshop will be held on Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum at Craig Park. The second workshop dedicated to this project, design concepts will be presented to the public before moving onto Phase II.

“Our goal is to bring more outsiders into the area,” Willsie says. “We want people to hang out down there longer, ultimately spending more money. A big goal in Tarpon is obviously to keep it on the map. It's always been a big tourist destination.”

Phase II of the project will focus on the actual improvement design, working drawings and specifications.

“We're trying to determine whether or not we should concentrate the city's money into one area or spread it out, master planning the whole thing and just improving the important parts now,” Willsie says. “One thing we'll focus on at the meeting is assigning dollar values and then we'll let the public decide what's important.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Todd Willsie, Hoffman Architects

Honeymoon Island To Get More Beach, Dunedin

2012 is looking bright for beach-goers of Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin.

Located at #1 Causeway Boulevard, Honeymoon Island will undergo a $5.6 million revitalization project, adding three rock T-Groin structures to the beach and nourishing about 2,000 feet of shoreline.

“About 100,000 cubic yards of sand from the ebb shoal of Hurricane Pass will be used to fill the northern portion of the public beach,” says Andy Squires, coastal manager at Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure.

Tentatively scheduled to begin in late summer or early fall of 2012, construction on the project is awaiting permit acquisition and funding from the State of Florida. Currently, the permit is under review and the funding request will be considered during the 2012 State Legislative Session along with several other beach projects throughout Florida.

“A Joint Coastal Permit must be obtained from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection,” says Squires. “With the permit and appropriate funding, Pinellas projects can take anywhere from one to eight months, depending on the size and weather conditions.”

T-Groin structures serve to attenuate wave energy, ultimately slowing the rate of beach erosion. Temporary geotextile sand-filled tubes are more common and cheaper to install -- such as those located on Upham Beach in St. Pete -- but, according to Squires, plans for rock structures coincide with future nourishment projects for Treasure Island and Long Key in St. Pete in 2013.

“Wide sandy beaches provide storm protection to beachfront properties and infrastructure, recreational space that fuels the local economy through tourism-related activity and habitat for marine sea turtles and shorebirds,” says Squires.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Andy Squires, Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure

Clearwater Airpark Makes Way On Improvements

A public meeting was recently held to discuss a handful of proposed improvement projects to the Clearwater Airpark.

Located at 1000 N. Hercules Ave., the Airpark is planning to work on various necessary improvement projects to the facility, operating in accordance with their Master Plan.

The four proposed projects discussed at the January 10th meeting include complete runway improvements including a 800-foot extension to the runway, the replacement of older existing hangars, repairs to the current maintenance hangar and the construction of a new office building.

“When the Airpark was built in 1939, the site had formerly been the location of the community dump and because some of the current runways and buildings were built on top of the existing landfill at the time, the ground has begun to settle,” says Airpark Director of Marine and Aviation Bill Morris. “Building foundations are shifting -- as with the former terminal and Fixed Base Operations Building -- and the ground under the runway has settled, causing depressions and dips in the runway and taxiways.”

The proposed enhancements are grant-funded through the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Eighty percent of funds will be provided by FDOT with a 20 percent match made by the City of Clearwater.

In other words, according to Morris, for $375,000 the Airpark will receive $1.5 million through the Joint Automated Capital Improvement Plan through the FDOT, totaling approximately $1.88 million for projects identified as priorities in the approved Master Plan.

“Improvements such as these will help the Airpark to remain competitive in the marketplace, train new pilots that are essential to our nation's aviation needs and keep the facility's existing tenants while attracting new tenants,” says Morris. “Additionally, the airfield and surrounding neighborhoods will both be safer by having a longer runway, enabling planes to have a longer hard surface to get up to speed for takeoffs.”

According to Morris, this allows the planes to be higher over nearby homes as they climb out/up, resulting in quieter takeoffs for residents.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Bill Morris, Clearwater Airpark

Beach Renourishment On Sand Key, Pinellas

Last nourished in 2006, the Sand Key shoreline in Pinellas County will be getting some attention once again.

Part of a $31.5 million construction project slated to begin in March on 8.7 miles of Sand Key shoreline, the project is anticipated to use about 1.25 million cubic yards of sand from a borrow area approximately 12 miles offshore and west of Sand Key Park.

“Essentially, there are three reasons to nourish beaches: To provide storm protection, to boost the economy through tourism and to provide a nesting habitat for marine sea turtles, as well as a nesting and foraging habitat for shorebirds,” says Andy Squires, coastal manager at Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure.

Construction on the project will start just south of Sandy Key Park, continuing southward to North Redington Beach, excluding Belleair Shore.

Expected to take about five months to complete, the construction process involves dredging sand from the approved offshore borrow area, pumping the new sand directly from the borrow area to the beach or transporting the sand by barge and spreading the sand on the beach to correct elevations and slopes with bulldozers.

Residents can get involved in the project by assisting the County with planting beach vegetation. The vegetation installed helps to build sand dunes and improve storm protection to upland properties.

“Each year, in late June or early July, the County pays for and provides oat seedlings to beach towns and cities for volunteer groups wishing to build the sand dunes along Pinellas County beaches such as Sand Key, Treasure Island and Long Key," says Squires.

For more information on the protect or volunteer opportunities, call (727) 464-8477.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Andy Squires, Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure
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