30 years later, city's name has cachet
By MAUREEN BYRNE
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 1, 2001
So you live in Seminole. Or at least you say you do. Well, technically, most of you don't.
The city encompasses only 4 square miles, but many folks who live outside the city's boundaries say they live in Seminole.
Why is that?
Because Seminole has the name. It has the reputation for being a friendly suburban area that has good schools, convenient shopping and a sense of community.
According to the 2000 census, 73,293 men, women and children live in Seminole and the surrounding unincorporated areas, which include Bay Pines to the south and neighborhoods west and east of the city. Within city limits, the census counted 10,890 residents. However, the surveying was done before recent annexations that have boosted the population to almost 16,000.
Annexation is a top priority for the city. Officials hope someday the 3,065 residents who live in the Bay Pines area will join the city. Seminole leaders also are looking elsewhere for new residents, to the 29,575 people in unincorporated areas west of the city and to the 29,763 folks east of the city.
Just about all of you who live in and around Seminole are white and help account for 94.9 percent of the population; 1.2 percent of you are black; 2.2 percent are Asian. The Hispanic population is 2,378, almost a 90 percent increase from the 1990 census.
Most of you live in single-family homes, with a median value of $92,100.
And you are part of a smaller community within a larger community. Today, we feature six distinct communities in the greater Seminole area: the civic organizations and the chamber; the people who returned to their roots; the retirees; the families active in schools and sports; the people who live on the lake; and the new residents of the city.
These stories are your stories.
A look back
Nov. 15, 1970: City incorporates at a meeting at Seminole Mall by a vote of 823 to 72.
1973: City builds first recreation facility: eight horseshoe courts.
1974: City buys land at 7464 Ridge Road for $200,000 for city park, lake and new City Hall.
April 1, 1984: Seminole tops 5,000 residents.
April 1985: Seminole buys 9.6 acres on 113th Street for $520,000. Land later becomes site of post office and city library.
June 1985: City annexes Seminole Gardens apartments, adding 1,000 residents.
Dec. 12, 1989: Seminole attempts to annex 4,000 people. It gets only a fraction of that number. The city does not hold another referendum on annexation until 1999.
Oct. 9, 1991: City agrees to buy former church on 113th Street as a future recreational complex. Cost is $1.5-million. City later spends an additional $1-million to increase the size of the property to 15 acres.
Aug. 16, 1992: Seminole opens a $1.5-million library.
Sept. 8, 1994: Seminole voters decide to change from a strong-mayor form of government to a city manager form.
May 1995: City hires Frank Edmunds of Newmarket, N.H., as its first city manager. He begins work in July.
Oct. 1, 1995: City absorbs the independent Seminole Fire Rescue, tripling its budget from about $3.5-million to $11-million and increasing its number of employees from 40 to 140.
January 1996: Seminole hires new fire chief, Vicki L. Murphy, the first female fire chief in Pinellas County and only the seventh woman in the country to be a paid fire chief. She resigns July 1, 2000.
Sept. 14, 1999: Voters approve spending $5.8-million to expand and renovate the recreation center at 9100 113th St. N. It is the largest capital project in the city's history. The cost later increases to $6.1-million.
June 13, 2000: Voters in three unincorporated neighborhoods overwhelmingly approve joining the city, nearly doubling its size and substantially adding to its tax base. The city's population jumps from 9,000 to 14,000.
September 2000: City enters into an agreement with St. Petersburg Junior College to build a $6.8-million joint-use library, scheduled for completion in 2003, on the school's Seminole campus.
Nov. 15, 2000: City celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Communities of Seminole