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Historical museum to move again


© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 12, 2001

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- The city is seeking a $45,000 grant to help move its historical museum to a busier neighborhood.

The former beach house originally was located on Gulf Boulevard and was moved in 1981 to make way for new development.

Now the city wants to move it again -- this time to Chic-a-si Park, across the street from the Holiday Inn and near the Narrows, the official name for what is commonly referred to as the business triangle.

"It was on Gulf Boulevard, and they moved it next door to the city (hall)," said Katherine Burbridge, community development director for Indian Rocks Beach. "Now they're moving it down to the park, basically to get more foot traffic to make it more economically viable."

The Indian Rocks Beach Area Historical Museum does not charge admission but accepts donations, Burbridge said.

If the city wins the grant, it would agree to pay half of the project's $90,000 cost.

St. Pete Beach

Two police officers on Tuesday received "Excellence in Action" awards.

Officer Kevin Podraza received the award for helping a drowning victim. He was first at the scene and, along with an unidentified bystander, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the woman, who had no heartbeat.

Her heartbeat returned, and she was transported to Palms of Pasadena Hospital, though she died 12 hours later.

"Officer Podraza went above and beyond in a valiant attempt to save a person's life," Chief Ray Kaminskas wrote in his nomination.

Sgt. Al Ostoits received the award for his help in capturing the armed robbers who had victimized five Pinellas businesses in a three-week period earlier this summer.

Ostoits was reading about the suspect in the newspaper when he realized that the suspect matched the description of someone Ostoits had arrested a week earlier for retail theft.

"He was convinced that the robbery suspect mentioned in the newspaper article was the same person he had arrested," Kaminskas wrote in his nomination.

Ostoits called the Largo and St. Petersburg police departments, and based on his lead, they found the suspect and arrested him and an accomplice.

Treasure Island

The city on Tuesday will receive nearly $600,000 in compensation for a 1993 oil spill that damaged beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

"Sometimes we wondered if it would ever finally come to be," said Mayor Leon Atkinson when told a contract would be ready for signing this week.

The money is part of an $8-million settlement negotiated with three companies responsible for a boat collision that caused an inferno at the mouth of Tampa Bay and pushed oil onto Pinellas County beaches.

Treasure Island's share will be used to develop Sunset Vista Trailhead Park and to extend the boardwalk along the city's planned beachfront trail.

* * *

The nearly three-year "sewer war" between Treasure Island and St. Petersburg appears over.

City Manager Chuck Coward on Tuesday told the Commission that the two cities have agreed on a reduced payment schedule and during the next new months will develop a permanent rate structure.

Since 1999, the beach city disputed new sewer treatment rates and refused to pay the entire bill. Next week, the commission will approve an interim contract that saves the city $40,000.

Coward said he will monitor sewer rate negotiations between St. Petersburg and St. Pete Beach before committing Treasure Island to a rate structure.

Madeira Beach

Starting Oct. 1, sewer bills will be calculated according to how much water a customer uses.

The new formula uses two rating scales: one for monthly service below 2,000 gallons of water and one for service above 2,000 gallons.

A single-family residence which had been charged $16.10 a month now will be charged only $8.84. The same family also will pay $2.88 for every 1,000 gallons used in excess of 2,000 gallons a month. The strategy attempts to reward residential and commercial customers who conserve water.

"This is fair," Mayor Tom DeCesare said. "If you use less than 4,000 gallons a month, you'll probably see a decrease in your sewer bill. If you use more than 4,000 gallons a month, you'll probably see an increase."

- Times staff writer Amy Wimmer and correspondents Sheila Mullane Estrada and Andrew Meacham contributed to this report.

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