By AMY WIMMER, ANDREW MEACHAM and SHEILA MULLANE ESTRADA
© St. Petersburg Times, published July 1, 2001
A new John's Pass Bridge, scheduled for construction in 2004 or 2005, will link Madeira Beach and Treasure Island. Now those cities' commissions hope to join forces to endorse a bridge design.
The two cities will meet this week to discuss the replacement bridge. The Florida Department of Transportation has proposed three options for replacing the 30-year-old John's Bridge, which is in such bad shape that DOT has placed boulders at the base of the current bridge's pilings to slow erosion and keep it stable.
The options for a new span include a drawbridge with 21-foot clearance for boats, which would be similar to the existing bridge; a drawbridge with 35-foot clearance; and a fixed-span bridge with 65-foot clearance.
So far, the Madeira Beach City Commission has leaned toward the highest bridge; the Treasure Island City Commission has leaned toward the 21-foot bridge.
Both cities also are interested in questioning DOT about whether the mid-level drawbridge option can be engineered to accommodate a 45-foot clearance without increasing the property that DOT would need to construct it.
The joint workshop will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Treasure Island City Hall, 120 108th Ave.
The City Commission has approved a new location for the Indian Rocks Beach Historical Museum. City Manager Tom Brobeil said the city is applying for grants to move the one-story house from its current spot just south of City Hall to the northeast quadrant of Chief Chic-a-Si Park, across from the post office on Fourth Avenue.
Brobeil said the museum could be moved to the new site within six months. The museum features exhibits on Seminole Indians who once inhabited the area.
The commission also voted on hours of operation for the "leash-free" area of Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve between Eighth and 10th avenues. The dog park, the only part of the preserve currently accessible to the public, will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fourth of July holiday activities will begin with a parade at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Addie Graham Park, 173rd Avenue and Kennedy Drive. Residents are welcome to walk, ride bicycles or skate in the parade, which will be led by Mayor Harold Radcliffe, a fire truck and police vehicle. Refreshments are available for parade participants.
The eighth annual fireworks show, sponsored jointly by Redington Shores and North Redington Beach, will begin at 9 p.m. Wednesday for the first time from the Redington Long Pier, 17490 Gulf Blvd.
Little public parking is available at the Pier, so town officials are urging residents to either watch the fireworks from their homes or walk to the beach.
Daylong Fourth of July celebrations will end with a 9 p.m. fireworks display on Gulfport Beach. The day's schedule includes: sand-castle building contest, 10 a.m.-noon; children's pageant, 3:30 p.m. at the Catherine A. Hickman Theater, 5501 27th Ave. S; live music, starting at 3:30 in front of the Gulfport Casino; a 7 p.m. parade along Beach Drive, Shore Boulevard, 58th Street S and 28th Avenue S; and fireworks at 9 p.m.
A storm June 17 overwhelmed storm drains and knocked out several traffic signals. It took 30 minutes for the water to ebb from Sunset Drive and Oleander Way after the rain had stopped. "It's just a recurring problem when we have a huge rain," public works director Gary Anderson said. The storm knocked out traffic lights on Park Street, Sunset and Majestic Way. Sunset, where City Hall is located, and Oleander, site of fire department headquarters, are low-lying areas, Anderson said.
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