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Official gets up close look at annexation

County Administrator Steve Spratt says this will be the first of many visits with people in Lealman.

By ANNE LINDBERG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 23, 2002

LEALMAN -- One man wanted Pinellas Park to "un-annex" all the property the city has taken in the Lealman area.

Another suggested that Pinellas Park should be able to annex all the way to 58th Street N.

Sounds like just another meeting in Lealman, but this gathering of the unincorporated area's Community Association was different.

Steve Spratt was the featured guest -- the first appearance by a county administrator in Lealman since, well, nobody could recall.

Because Spratt was there and the topic was annexation, Pinellas Park Council members Rick Butler and Ed Taylor also attended.

And so did Ken Feck, a Republican candidate for state House who wants to represent the area.

When the meeting ended, Spratt was left with little more direction than he had when he entered the room. He wasn't discouraged and said Thursday's meeting was the first of many with people in the Lealman area.

He also plans to meet with leaders from neighboring cities to discuss annexation boundaries.

The usual stances were taken during the meeting. When one Lealman resident suggested that Pinellas Park should give back some land it had annexed, Butler shook his head and said, "It ain't gonna happen."

Both Spratt and Lealman residents expressed weariness with the issue. Spratt, who recently moved here from Miami-Dade County, said he'd never seen "the squabbling about turf" that was occurring in Pinellas. All parties "have spent way too much time on this annexation issue," said John Frank of the Community Association. "This annexation issue is the ghost that you can't seem to exorcise."

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