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    Tarpon rebuilding policy on bricks

    The new rule says bricks taken from city streets would belong to Tarpon Springs.

    By KATHERINE GAZELLA

    © St. Petersburg Times, published November 2, 2000


    TARPON SPRINGS -- Residents complained last summer after bricks pulled up during a road job on Lemon Street ended up in one homeowner's new patio.

    Now Tarpon Springs officials want to head off similar controversies by creating a policy that regulates what happens when bricks are removed from city streets.

    If the new policy is approved, all bricks pulled up from city streets will become city property.

    Several people who live on or near Lemon Street raised the issue when a resident was allowed to take bricks from a debris pile and use them on his patio. Bill Cladakis, whose wife owns a lot next to their Lemon Street home, was allowed by the contractor to take bricks for his use.

    "I salvaged what I could," Cladakis said. He took 100 to 200 bricks, he said.

    That was allowed, city officials said, because the contract gave Keystone Excavators of Oldsmar the right to materials dug up when the company installed water lines on Lemon. There was nothing wrong with what Cladakis or the contractor did, but the city later took custody of the remaining bricks, said Juan Cruz, city public services director.

    Now the city wants to make sure something like that doesn't happen again. The policy under consideration would prevent contracts that allow contractors to keep bricks from city streets.

    "This will never happen again," Cruz said at a City Commission meeting Tuesday night. "All the bases have been covered."

    The brick policy also states that streets in the historic district, plus some other streets near Spring Bayou, should not be paved over but should continue to be brick streets.

    Resident Nancy Dively said the commission is making "great strides" but needs to do more. She said streets like Lemon Street that once were brick but were paved with asphalt should be returned to brick.

    In other business Tuesday night, commissioners:

    Gave initial approval to a redevelopment plan in the Union Academy neighborhood that allows the city to become eligible for a $300,000 state grant. If the city receives the grant, the money can be used for construction of homes and rehabilitation of existing homes in the neighborhood.

    Discussed writing a new tree policy to define more clearly the procedure citizens must follow when they want to challenge a decision of the city arborist.

    A draft copy of the policy states that the city arborist must make site inspections and make written recommendations about whether trees should be pruned, trimmed or removed. If citizens disagree with the arborist's findings, they would have to get a written opinion from a certified arborist, horticulturist or other equally qualified person.

    - Staff writer Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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