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Church's bell tower easily rings up votes

The 54-foot tower and cross at St. Giles Episcopal will chime the time and play hymns.

By ANNE LINDBERG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002

PINELLAS PARK -- The audience burst into applause when council members, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, agreed that a church could build a bell tower.

The approximately 25 attendees at Tuesday's meeting were members of St. Giles Episcopal Church, where the 54-foot tower and cross will be built. Construction should begin this month. The church, at 8271 52nd St. N, hopes to chime the time from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and play hymns at noon and 6 p.m.

The church's request for a variance to allow a tower 14 feet higher than normally allowed was so favorably looked upon that the 14-minute meeting took a humorous turn.

Council members asked if the church would take song requests. Council member Rick Butler suggested "religious zydeco." Then he said the genre didn't matter, he just wanted to "hurry up and get it done."

Patricia Bailey-Snook poked fun at Mayor Bill Mischler, who was absent.

Bailey-Snook said she had no song requests, but "I just want to make sure you never invite our mayor to sing."

Council member Chuck Williams asked, "Should we make that a condition (for approval)?"

"Yes," Bailey-Snook said.

Later, Ed Taylor, who acts as head of the CRA, asked if anyone in the room wanted to speak against the bell tower. Then, looking around the room that was packed with members of St. Giles, he joked, "If there are, they'd better leave now."

There were no opponents.

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