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'Tourists' in Pinellas Park see it in new light

A chamber tour shows city, county and Dunedin officials what visitors see and how the city's image could be brightened.

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 28, 2001

PINELLAS PARK -- Chamber of Commerce president Housh Ghovaee had a vision: Encourage elected officials to look at Pinellas Park through the eyes of a tourist.

The result, he believed, would be a city that would entice passers-by to stop, shop and maybe even settle down.

So Ghovaee chartered a tour bus and earlier this month gathered elected and nonelected officials from the city, Pinellas County and Dunedin to take a three-hour trip around Pinellas Park with chamber members acting as guides.

They talked about needing attractive signs that clearly identify the city limits and about improving the width and appearance of the main roadways with landscaping and art.

They also took the chance to point out highlights, from a business boom manifested by Home Depot and the Wal-Mart supercenter among others to upscale residential areas to planned projects that will improve Pinellas Park's image.

"We're here to make America a better place to be," Ghovaee said. "In order to be a prosperous and beautiful America, we must have prosperous and beautiful states. In order to have a prosperous and beautiful state, we must have beautiful and prosperous counties and cities."

The City Council poked fun at St. Petersburg and Largo, both neighbors and rivals.

"We'd like to thank the city of St. Petersburg for donating Dew Cadillac to us," City Council member Rick Butler said.

Dew plans to build in Gateway Centre, just inside Pinellas Park's northeast border.

Equal thanks went to St. Petersburg for turning down Wal-Mart's request to open a supercenter in the Pinellas Point neighborhood. The supercenter just opened in Pinellas Park and has proved a constant draw since its first day of business.

As the bus crossed a portion of the city limit, Butler said, "This is one of the adult entertainment businesses in Largo. No, I've never been there."

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