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Projects like Dali museum now hang on Bush review

By CARRIE JOHNSON
Published May 4, 2005


TALLAHASSEE - The Salvador Dali Museum survived legislative budget bickering. Now it must elude the governor's veto.

The Legislature appropriated $4-million for the St. Petersburg museum, the amount requested by city and museum officials.

It was just one in a slew of Tampa Bay area projects included in the state's $63.5-billion budget, including $3.78-million for resurfacing roads in the Tarpon Springs historic district, $725,000 for the PAR adolescent intervention center in Pasco County and $240,000 for the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

But the Legislature is just the first hurdle. Gov. Jeb Bush now must approve it, and he historically has slashed hundreds of millions of dollars in state money on local projects such as the Dali, that aren't recommended by a state agency.

"Obviously, this is a very positive step," said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker. "Now we've got one more step to go."

Museum officials plan to build a 500,000-square-foot building on the former site of the Bayfront Center arena. They also are requesting $4-million from the state next year. An additional $12-million would be raised from private sources and by selling the current building.

The Legislature added language saying the building must be used as a museum for 10 years. Also, the museum wouldn't get the money unless it provided the Florida Department of State proof it has raised $4-million in private matching sources by Jan. 1.

St. Petersburg City Council member Bill Foster said city officials don't think that will be a problem for the museum. "With this economy, you don't want to take anything for granted," Foster said. "But I think the Dali has a wide base of support that extends far beyond this state."

The new museum will be designed by Tampa architect Yann Weymouth. The top floor will be 20,000 square feet, offering twice as much exhibition space as the current building.

Baker met with the governor last month to discuss Dali funding. He described Bush's position as "noncommittal." Baker plans to schedule another meeting in the next few weeks.

But Dali supporters hope they already have a supporter in the Governor's Mansion: Bush's wife, Columba, was honorary chairwoman of the Dali Centennial celebrated in March 2004.

In Tarpon Springs, state money would help pay for an estimated $12.4-million plan to resurface a 3-mile stretch of Pinellas Avenue from Meres Boulevard to the Pasco County line and Tarpon Avenue from Huey Avenue to Pinellas Avenue.

The project is scheduled to begin in early fall and aims to improve traffic flow in the city's historic areas and make the areas more pedestrian friendly.

Other budget highlights include:

$1-million for a Brooksville sewer rehabilitation project.

$1-million for a Homosassa wastewater collection system project.

$1.25-million for a Tampa Bay restoration project.

$800,000 for the Oldsmar reclaimed water interconnect.

$565,000 for Pasco's emergency special needs shelter.

$543,218 for Hernando County's emergency special needs shelter.

$560,000 for the Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg.

$431,779 for library construction in Trinity in Pasco County.

$308,371 for the Adolescent Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Facility for Citrus-Marion counties.

$100,000 for the Peggy Peterman Empowerment Center for Advanced Learning in St. Petersburg.

$240,000 for the Dunedin Fine Arts and Cultural Center.

$250,000 for the Lowry Park Zoo juvenile program in Tampa.

Staff writer Alisa Ulferts contributed to this report. Carrie Johnson can be reached at 850 224-7263 or cjohnson@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 4, 2005, 00:56:08]


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