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Beaches notebook

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002


St. Pete Beach

After months of attempting various methods to slow traffic in the Belle Vista neighborhood, the City Commission decided Tuesday on a long-term solution to the problem.

Taking the advice of traffic consultant Jerry Dabkowski, who works for Orth-Rodgers & Associates, the city will restripe the intersection of 44th Avenue at Belle Vista Drive and make it a three-way stop.

The city also will remove the three-way stop at 43rd Avenue and Belle Vista and adjust the location of two other stop signs in the neighborhoods.

All of the stop signs were added as part of an experiment aimed at reducing speed in the neighborhood.

The city hopes the improvements will deter speeding. The blinking light at 44th Avenue and Belle Vista Drive will be turned off for now, but the city might remove it if the three-way stop works.

Then St. Pete Beach could landscape that area and create a nicer entrance for Belle Vista, City Manager Mike Bonfield said.

"What you see when you enter kind of sets the tone for how you're going to behave when you're there," Bonfield said.

* * *

The featured artists for June at the Suntan Art Center are George Avery, a painter, and Dani Bergman, a clay artist.

The center is at 3300 Gulf Blvd., directly south of the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa.

Treasure Island

Fourth of July celebrations include an early-morning kayak and canoe race, a wacky "Build Your Own Boat" competition and the fireworks presentation at 9 p.m.

The kayak and canoe race, set for 7:30 a.m., begins and ends at the county beach at Gulf Boulevard and 104th Avenue. Registration for the event, sponsored by Treasure Island Charities and the Gulf Beaches Rotary Club, begins at 6 a.m., followed by an orientation to the 8-mile course at 7 a.m.

The entry fee is $25 per paddler if paid by Friday or $30 on the day of the race. The fee for the Treasure Island Ocean Challenge includes a T-shirt and a postrace lunch. Awards will be presented to the first-, second- and third-place finishers in five categories of men's and women's races. Entry fees should be mailed to Harry Black at 9980 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, FL 33706.

Part of the waterfront program includes a "Build Your Own Boat Regatta" at noon. Participants are asked to bring two paddles and their own life jackets. Regatta organizers will supply three pieces of cardboard, three rolls of duct tape, a cardboard cutter and markers to decorate the vessels. Teams will have 90 minutes to build the boats before they will be required to race to a buoy and back. The fee for the regatta is $25, which includes the supplies.

The city also is sponsoring activities along the beach. Food and beverage concessions will be open along the county beach from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

From 4 to 5:30 p.m., the city is hosting "Beach Blanket Bingo," with prizes donated by local merchants. The Charlie Morris Band, playing music from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, will perform from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

At the nearby municipal beach at Gulf Boulevard and 112th Avenue, the Clam Bayou Jazz Band is scheduled to perform from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

All of the beachfront events, except for the kayak and boat races, are free and open to the public.

Gulfport

The city will celebrate Independence Day with activities beginning at 10 a.m. July 4.

A sand castle contest will be from 10 a.m. to noon on the beach. At 4 p.m., food vendors will be set up and Radio Disney will be on hand with music, games and prizes on Shore Boulevard and by the playground.

The annual parade begins at 7 p.m. on Beach Boulevard, followed by a flag disposal ceremony with American Legion Post 125 on the beach behind Gulfport Recreation Center. A fireworks display will begin at 9:15 p.m. Free. Call 893-1070.

* * *

The Gulfport Waterfront District offers live music and refreshments on the first Friday and third Saturday of each month at the Gulfport Artwalk. The next event will take place July 5.

Free parking is available, as well as a free trolley service that takes visitors on a tour of historic Gulfport. For information, contact Tracey Jackson at 328-9790 or bcbacytrader@aol.com. The Gulfport Waterfront District is on Beach Boulevard.

Madeira Beach

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 73 will sponsor a free boat safety check from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Madeira Beach American Legion Post 273 at 600 American Legion Drive.

Boat owners should bring their vessels to the legion post to receive a free safety inspection.

* * *

The Madeira Beach Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer a four-night boating safety program beginning July 9. The course will cost $25 and will be at the Flotilla Building, 299 Boca Ciega Drive. For information, call Len Dolney at 541-7965.

-- To submit items to the Beaches Notebook, e-mail wimmer@sptimes.com.

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