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There is always a special kind of excitement in the weeks leading up to the race. Our city’s streets are turned into a 1.8 mile racetrack along the waterfront. The track has 14 turns and goes past the Dali Museum, Mahaffey Theatre, around Pioneer Park, along the waterfront past the St Petersburg Harbor & Marina and onto the runways of Albert Whitted Airport. The races include Verizon IndyCar Series, Pirelli World Challenge, Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks, Indy Lights & Pro Mazda. It has been fun to walk down the middle of the downtown city streets with partial track walls closing in on both streets. I have lived here for 11 years now & I still find all of this so cool.

People come from all over the world to see this race. Some watch from the track stands, others watch from their boats, and some watch from their condos balconies. Of course, it will also be shown on national TV. I will go into the grounds on Friday where one can see the cars up close & sometimes even meet the drivers before or after their practice & qualifying runs.  On Sunday, I will be on the top floor of my parents’ condo building watching with great glee as the race speeds past the building on 2 sides with 2 hairpin turns. Yes, it IS noisy but oh, so awesome!

You can purchase tickets & get more info at  http://gpstpete.com/  in advance or at the gate.

 

    

PROFarm Neighborhood Advocates
Penny for Pinellas (January 2017)


Infrastructure is critical to our economic growth, and obviously economic growth impacts the value of your home. Taxes, namely property taxes, also impact real estate. For the last thirty years Pinellas County has levied a 1 cent sales tax to pay for roads, police and fire stations, bridges, etc. In November 2017 voters will decide if the penny tax will continue.

In 1989, 1997, and 2007 Pinellas County citizens voted to increase their sales tax by 1 cent to fund needed infrastructure projects. The goal was to make long-term investments in our future without putting the burden completely on property owners. There were needs across the county and elected leaders were facing the prospect of raising property taxes to fill the funding void. Instead, they put it to the voters for a 1 cent tax, and this Fall they will have the option to re-authorize that tax again.

Penny for Pinellas FAQs:

  • Is the tax permanent? No. As the voters have done three times prior, this vote would authorize the Penny for ten more years, specifically the fiscal years of 2020-2030. If passed in the Fall, voters would have the opportunity to re-authorize again in 2027.

 

  • Who gets the money? The county collects the funds and keeps some for its own infrastructure projects. The majority of the money is spread out to the 24 cities in Pinellas County for various needs. They do have to submit their list of projects prior to the vote, and that list is public. Voters will be able to decide if the projects are worthy of the increased tax.

 

  • What happens if the re-authorization fails? A wide range of projects deemed necessary by many while either not be funded, or elected officials could decide to increase property taxes.

 

  • Where could I find more information about the Penny? The county has set up a website with lots of useful information including list of projects, and the history of Penny for Pinellas. It is www.pinellascounty.org/penny/

This issue has the potential to affect you and our local economy, so I thought that you might be interested. If you have questions regarding this or any real estate needs, please feel free to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566.

The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.

The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.

Lynx – America’s Privateer Trailer HD    https://youtu.be/LNWdRGAAjfM

The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.

“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.

It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.

The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.

“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.

Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.

The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.

http://tallshiplynx.com/history/     and Anne Lindberg at  http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/

 

 

Tampa's 23-acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park is in line for a $35.5 million makeover. Money from Hillsborough County's voter-approved Community Investment Tax is expected to cover a little more than 40 percent of the cost. [City of Tampa illustration] 

TAMPA — This isn’t the first time Tampa has tried to do something bold and visionary and transformative at the 23 acres of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. But at $35.5 million, City Hall has never put this kind of money into the effort.

 

By RICHARD DANIELSON, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer  http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/tampa-to-launch-35-million-redevelopment-of-riverfront-park/2285761

“This park is not cheap,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at a mid-morning ceremony to kick of 18 months of construction at the park, which is just across the Hillsborough River from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. “But I think we also understand as a community the value of parks in our city. They are the common ground.”

It’s the biggest city project in West Tampa in decades, one that’s aimed at creating an urban park as active and popular as Water Works and Curtis Hixon Waterfront parks.

Officials also hope a re-energized Riverfront Park will draw new residents and investment to 120 nearby acres they are calling West River.

To pay for the project, City Hall will use $15 million of the $20 million Tampa received from BP because of lost tourism revenues after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Most of the rest of the project funds will come from the Community Investment Tax, the half-cent that Hillsborough County collects on sales to pay for schools, roads and other public projects.

“You will find something to do no matter what your tastes are in this park,” Tampa parks and recreation director Greg Bayor said. When the new park opens around February 2018, it will feature:

• A new river center with a community room, a large shaded deck, storage for rowing shells and dragon boats, a public dock, paddleboard rentals, a riverfront promenade and a sheltered cove where beginners can practice on calm water.

• A large lawn where people at art shows and concerts would have good views of the river and the downtown skyline.

• Tennis, basketball and pickleball courts, plus a lighted, synthetic-turf athletic field with bleachers for soccer, football and lacrosse.

• A family picnic area, a splash pad for children, a fenced children’s play area, a dog park and a water taxi stop.

“We’re making progress in West Tampa,” said City Council member Frank Reddick, who grew up three blocks away and learned to play tennis and basketball at the park. The finished park, he said, will create “what we all want in this community, and that is a safe, livable place where we can come and bring our families.”

‘Earth sculptures’

But to make room for the new amenities, the city will scrape the site bare of the defining features of the last big experiment there — the large earthen mounds, berms and swales designed by renowned New York architect Richard Dattner.

“I have heard about the replacement project, and am sad to see my park leveled,” Dattner, who is known for creating unorthodox, rough-hewn spaces for adventurous play, said in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.

In the mid-1970s, the city brought in Dattner to do something creative at what was then a flat, featureless park. The project was being done as part of the Model Cities program created by former President Lyndon Johnson, but money was limited. Dattner said Tampa officials wanted the resulting park to draw together mostly black neighbors and mostly white downtown office workers on their lunch hour. At the same time, officials were concerned about visibility and safety within the park.

Instead of putting up new buildings, Dattner designed the park with a series of “earth sculptures” — exterior rooms, he said, that were “carved out of earth berms to preserve the entire park as a green, landscaped surface.” Enclosed within man-made hills of various heights were an amphitheater and adventure playground with a ropes course, tennis courts, outdoor pool, central courtyard and fountain, tennis courts, and storage space and maintenance offices under a circular landscaped berm.

To get people walking across the park, making it safer in the process, Dattner laid out two tree-lined diagonal promenades that cross at the center of the park.

Dattner said the most original idea at work was to treat the entire site as a large earth sculpture, not only creating a green park at a reasonable cost, but providing high spots in the park to give visitors good views of the river.

“On a flat site, despite opinions to the contrary, only people at the water’s edge can actually see the river,” he said. “The built park was beautiful. Kids loved the water fountain in the activity circle as well as the slide safely descending from the top of the highest mound — in kids’ imaginations a ‘mountain’ in overwhelmingly flat Tampa. On my few visits after its completion I found a diverse group of all ages enjoying the variety of activities purposely provided.”

In the years that followed, however, one of the mounds was bulldozed, and more conventional playground equipment replaced the forts. The shuffleboard courts and pool were taken out. It became a little-used space. Former Mayor Pam Iorio commissioned a study that recommended improvements such as new softball fields, but Buckhorn discarded that in favor of a complete do-over.

It’s too bad, Dattner said.

“It could have been treasured, maintained, and gently upgraded to meet current requirements,” he said, “rather than demolished — a landmark landscape gone.”

‘Alien space mounds’

But the history of Riverfront Park goes back before the 1970s. In the 1940s, it was the site of stock car races on an oval track. During segregation, Tampa’s two black high schools, Middleton and Blake, played their home football games there, and Hillsborough and Plant played an annual Thanksgiving game there. And it was known as a place for neighborhood gatherings and weekend cookouts.

“A place where it didn’t matter which side of the city you were from,” said North Boulevard Homes residents council president David Gallon, who said the park means so much to him that he got married there. “When you came here, you were family.”

It’s no secret that Buckhorn doesn’t like Dattner’s design. He’s called the earth sculptures “alien space mounds” and says they obstruct views of the river.

Surveys done during the design process found that some residents didn’t know what was at Riverfront Park. The daughter of former Mayor Julian B. Lane has said that before the unveiling of the new design two years ago, she had never walked to the river through the park named for her father.

To give visitors views of the river and downtown’s skyline, the redevelopment of the park will flatten the mounds and create a grade that is highest next to North Boulevard and gently slopes down to the river.

Beyond this immediate project, officials hope remaking Riverfront Park will accomplish much of what Model Cities aimed to do.

Investing in Riverfront Park, Buckhorn hopes, will help Tampa compete for a $30 million federal Choice Neighborhoods grant to help pay for the West River plan. City Hall is moving a nearby truck maintenance depot and wants to sell the land for apartment development. North Boulevard Homes, Tampa’s oldest public housing complex, is earmarked for demolition. Housing officials plan to replace it with both subsidized housing and dwellings that sell or rent on the open market.

“It is the project that is the most transformative for West Tampa,” Buckhorn said. He said when Gallon and other North Boulevard Homes residents return to a redeveloped neighborhood, “they won’t have to live in a gang-infested, violent public housing project. They can live in a community that they are proud to call home and where everyone enjoys the same benefits.”

Contact Richard Danielson at (813) 226-3403 or rdanielson@tampabay.com. Follow @Danielson_Times

http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/tampa-to-launch-35-million-redevelopment-of-riverfront-park/2285761

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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