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Forum to air ideas for Madeira Beach Snack Shack

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published May 6, 2007


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A planned public forum on the future use of the Snack Shack at Archibald Park is generating a wide range of ideas, from a food and drink concession to a noncommercial public facility, concert hall or museum.

The forum to review these and other ideas will be at 7 p.m. May 21. City Manager Jill Silverboard plans to hire a professional "facilitator" to guide the discussion.

The Snack Shack had been scheduled for demolition this week, but that was indefinitely postponed when a protest generated more than 1, 000 signatures on petitions calling for the 1930s building to be saved.

Because there has been so much interest in the future of the Snack Shack, Silverboard plans to ask the commission to stress that the public forum is designed for discussion only, not for the presentation of formal proposals.

"We need to know what we can and cannot consider, and then we will be asking for formal proposals to be presented at a later date, " she said.

She has received a number of e-mails from people with ideas.

Among them is a proposal from Fred Davis of the Eagle Entertainment Group calling for building an outdoor concert hall and museum.

About a month ago, the Kiwanis of Gulf Beaches Foundation proposed converting the Snack Shack to a convenience store, meeting room and playground area for tourists and residents. That proposal was rejected by the commission, which had already decided to tear down the building.

Alex Archibald, the grandson of the original owner of the beach park property, hopes to attend the forum. He wants commercial use barred from the park and the Snack Shack, in accordance with what he says was his grandfather's original intent.

Archibald wants the city to agree to a revised quit-claim deed that would ban commercial use.

The original document, issued by the Interior Department's National Park Service in 1972, turned the beach property and Snack Shack over to the city. It allows the city to operate or contract for food, drink and other recreation-related concessions.

Beginning in 1975 and until about a decade ago, the Disabled American Veterans operated the Snack Shack, selling hot dogs, burgers, sodas and ice cream to beachgoers.

In the past decade, the city leased the Snack Shack to other operators. Earlier this year, the city paid $500, 000 to settle a lawsuit filed after a city-approved concession agreement allowing a restaurant was canceled, partly because of Archibald's objections.

The city also recently approved a concession agreement allowing the rental of beach umbrellas and lounge chairs at Archibald Park.

[Last modified May 5, 2007, 18:33:45]


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