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Snack Shack petition effort is 272 signatures short

Many are illegible or from people not registered to vote.

By SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
Published May 27, 2007


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MADEIRA BEACH - Supporters of retaining and rehabilitating the historic Snack Shack at Archibald Park failed to get enough signatures on a petition they hope will accomplish that goal.

The group fell 272 signatures short of the needed 833 signatures of registered voters who are residents of Madeira Beach.

More than 150 of the signatures were from people who were not registered voters. Others were either illegible or from the wrong voting district, or differed from signatures on file with the Registrar of Voters.

The petitions were rejected officially Thursday by City Clerk Denise Schlegel for both lacking enough signatures and for failing to have a properly worded affidavit attached to each page of signatures.

"I am not surprised we did not have enough signatures, but this is not going to deter us, " said petition organizer Eddie Lee.

Under state law, the group must tell the city whether it will attempt to get enough signatures within the next 30 days.

"Now we know precisely how many we need, " said Lee.

He said the group will canvass the city, beginning next week, to collect the remaining needed signatures.

"Our goal is unchanged - to bring the issue of the Snack Shack to a head, " said Lee.

The group wants the City Commission to approve an ordinance protecting the Snack Shack or put the issue to the voters in a citywide referendum election.

The City Commission had planned to demolish the 1930s-era log cabin last month, but put it off "indefinitely" when Lee's group generated massive public support for the building.

The Snack Shack was built in the 1930s after the beachfront property was donated to the federal government for use by recovering disabled veterans. The property and the building were turned over to the city in 1972 with the proviso that it remain a public park and recreation facility.

Until about a decade ago, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) operated the Snack Shack, selling hot dogs, burgers, sodas and ice cream to beachgoers. The city subsequently 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 blocked by the Interior Department, partly because of objections to the commercial use by the family of the original owner.

A special town forum Monday reviewed several ideas for use of the building, but did not reach any conclusions.

The commission is expected to again discuss the building's fate, possibly at its June 6 workshop.

[Last modified May 26, 2007, 18:43:17]


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