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Sidewalk blockers get brief reprieve
Fines for blocked sidewalks won't go up just yet, but other funds may be on the horizon.
By MINDY RUBENSTEIN
Published May 15, 2007
ZEPHYRHILLS - Leo Gray sat patiently in the back of the pale blue council chambers Monday night, perched in his wheelchair, waiting for his turn to speak.
But he didn't get the chance.
Council members postponed a decision on a proposal to raise the fines for blocked sidewalks. They needed to work out some details first, such as determining how much the fine would increase over time if the offender failed to pay.
Gray, a disabled veteran and sidewalk "watchdog, " has been working with the city to increase the fines, which are currently $10.
The proposal, drawn up by city attorney Joe Poblick, would raise the fine to $50.
The issue is slated to return at the June 11 meeting.
In other council news, the city is poised to get about $82, 000 from the pending sale of the CARES senior center near the Zephyrhills airport. The center is struggling financially, and owners plan to sell the building for $410, 000 to a private buyer.
The 6, 000-square-foot senior center sits on about 2 acres that the city donated in 1995. If CARES sells the building, it must pay the city for the value of the land. An appraisal is pending, but officials say the land accounts for about 20 percent of the property's value, or about $82, 000.
Local businessman Greg First plans to buy the building.
"We were looking for a business venture, " said First, who plans to do some major renovations to the building and use it for weddings, receptions and other community events.
"Greg has been very outspoken about making this available to the city, " said Bill Aycrigg, president of CARES.
Community Aging and Retirement Services, better known as CARES, is a nonprofit agency that provides craft classes, dancing lessons and other activities.
The senior center will relocate to Community Chapel Church of God on First Street, with a two-year lease-back agreement with the previous facility for weekly bingo.