tampabay.com

County hears options for ballfields

By THERESA BLACKWELL
Published May 23, 2007


CLEARWATER 

Pinellas County commissioners looked less likely to allow ballfields in the Brooker Creek Preserve on Tuesday after learning there were other options.

But in a workshop session packed with preserve supporters, commissioners appeared just as likely to stick to the county's plans to build a water blending facility in the northern part of the preserve.

No formal vote was taken on the proposals, but the meeting brought some good news for Brooker Creek enthusiasts who have fought the ballfields. The county has signed a lease with East Lake Youth Sports Association to use a 38.5-acre site in the preserve north of Old Keystone Road.

Paul Cozzie, the county's bureau director of culture, education and leisure, presented a slew of new options for ballfields. Some would require other governments' cooperation or even land purchases before ballfields could be planned.

Then Tarpon Springs Mayor Beverley Billiris approached the podium and offered up a large site in Tarpon Springs. She said the city had planned to build fields there, but didn't have the money.

"We are giving you that open land as an option, " she said. "We are ready to go. You can start building tomorrow."

Theresa Blackwell can be reached at tblackwell@sptimes.com or 727 445-4170.