Seminole weighs wallet, priorities

Community identity, drainage and road upgrades are high on the list of improvements City Council members are interested in seeing done during the upcoming fiscal year.

But two items not on the draft of the capital improvements budget caught the interest of Seminole council members. One was the lack of restrooms at Blossom Lake Park. The other was the lack of a skateboard park in the city.

Council members got their first look at the capital improvements budget for 2005-06 during an April 30 retreat, which also gave them a chance to talk about the financial condition of the city and their future goals. how to choose a good skateboard for beginners

The council will officially consider the budget beginning in June.

Items on the draft budget include proposed funding for:

+ A new fire vehicle with a pump and 500-gallon water tank.

+ Completion of landscape improvements to Park Boulevard from 113th Street to Seminole Boulevard.

Seminole weighs wallet, priorities

+ Consulting services to establish a unique community identity and to analyze future land use and zoning needs.

+ Upgrade of the master drainage plan.

+ Resurfacing of 104th and 103rd avenues N between Hazel and Nina streets, along with portions of Hazel Street north of 102nd Avenue.

+ Consulting services to analyze conditions along Starkey Road and Park and Seminole boulevards.

+ Ornamental stop and street signs.

+ Street lights in newly annexed areas.

Not on the budget until the 2006-07 fiscal year are permanent restrooms at Blossom Lake Park, 10455 Blossom Lake Drive.

Council member Dan Hester wants to build the restrooms as soon as possible, saying the temporary facilities at the park are a "disgusting'' part of an otherwise beautiful facility.

Council member John Counts wanted to know the status of building a skateboard park in Seminole.

City Manager Frank Edmunds said a possible site had once been found on 70th Avenue N near the Pinellas Trail but some neighbors had complained. A later study showed there was "no way we could make the economics work'' for an indoor skate park.

Counts wondered if Blossom Lake Park could work for a skateboard ramp, but Edmunds said neighbors would object. There would also be a problem controlling access to the park, which is not fenced off.

Counts said the "not in my back yard'' syndrome will be a big problem when it comes to building a park. But, he said, the sight of kids skateboarding elsewhere in the city makes him think that there's an accident waiting to happen.

Council member Janet Long agreed that a park is needed. Long said she had watched kids skateboard down the steps at movie theaters and was worried someone would be hurt.

Council member Patricia Hartstein agreed that skateboarding is so popular in Seminole that some parents in her neighborhood have built ramps that can be pulled into the street. The ramps, she said, block traffic.

Edmunds said if the council wants to build a skateboard park, the time to discuss that would be in June, when the capital improvements budget comes before the council.

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