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Treasure Island approves downtown clock tower

Commissioners agree to pay up to $225,000 to build the landmark in a median. A civic group offers money to install bells.

By KATHY SAUNDERS

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 4, 2001


TREASURE ISLAND -- A large clock tower, possibly with bells, last week received a go-ahead from city commissioners. Construction on the downtown landmark should be completed this summer.

The 50-foot tower is part of a road realignment and landscaping project scheduled to begin this month in the downtown business district along Central/107th Avenue.

Commissioners agreed to pay up to $225,000 for the tower, planned in the center of a new median. The tower is expected to be about 13 square feet at its base with an open-air pavilion and trelliswork. The colors will be sage green and off-white to match the newly repainted City Hall and the new Treasure Island Beach Center on Sunset Beach.

Peter R. Brown Construction Inc., which is under contract to renovate the city's police and fire departments as well as the Community Center, has offered to build the tower.

So has Valley Crest, the San Diego-based contractors hired to complete the road work.

"I've given them three weeks to submit a bid," said City Manager Chuck Coward. He hopes to select a builder by the end of the month.

The tower was designed by Tampa architect Enrique Woodroffe, who also designed the beach center.

Most of the road work will take place between April 15 and May 30. The clock tower could be built by the Fourth of July, depending on the road project.

During the road realignment, two lanes of 107th Avenue will be closed. "But we don't think it will be too much of a disruption for traffic," Coward said.

In addition to the road work, the $600,000 downtown beautification project will include new trees, lampposts and brick pedestrian walkways. Members of the city's Hotel/Motel Association are selling 250-500 bricks for $50 each as a fundraising project. Individuals or businesses can personalize the brick they buy for the path. The bricks can be purchased at Island Movies & More, 139 107th Ave.

Mayor Leon Atkinson said members of the Islettes civic group have offered to give commissioners $8,500 to put bells in the clock tower. Commissioners plan to discuss that option at their next workshop, scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 120 108th Ave.

"I think it's a fantastic idea," Atkinson said of the bells. "It's something that I'm certainly in favor of."

Commissioners also scheduled a meeting March 28 at 5:30 p.m. to discuss with downtown business owners parking regulations and ideas for improving some of the private property in the district.

Woodroffe received about $10,000 to develop ideas for private business owners to spruce up their property during the beautification effort. He has suggested that some businesses may want to coordinate signs and add to their shops green tin roofs, matching trelliswork and flower urns.

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