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    North Pinellas briefs

    By Times staff

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 12, 2000

    City to vote for new beach development master plan

    CLEARWATER -- The City Commission is scheduled to vote tonight to move forward with public hearings to adopt Beach by Design, a new master plan for Clearwater Beach redevelopment written by the city's master planner, Boca Raton attorney Charles Siemon. The plan promotes ideas such as spending $12-million to beautify and improve beach roads -- and possibly imposing a special tax assessment on city property owners to help pay for it. It also advocates creating a pool of 400 to 600 hotel room credits, which would be given to developers so they could exceed current building limits and create major new resorts. The commission also is set to direct city staff to continue negotiating with three developers proposing redevelopment projects such as hotels and parking garages, and commissioners will approve the concept of transforming Gulfview Boulevard into a landmark city avenue with sidewalk cafes and a pedestrian pathway. The commission meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 112 S Osceola Ave.

    Kids give rolling welcome to new skate park

    DUNEDIN -- The Stirling skate park in Dunedin is open. The park, built with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance program, opened Monday to more than 50 youngsters. "It's pretty cool," said Nick Cramer, 16. "I give it at least an 8." The 10,000-square-foot park, which sits on concrete, has platforms and rails designed to withstand bangs and crashes. Skaters, however, must wear helmets to be admitted and also must sign waivers. "There are so many kids out here who are experienced skaters that they police themselves and abide by normal skate park rules," said Betty Haynes, program coordinator for the Sterling Recreation Center. Admission is free for parkgoers with a Dunedin recreation identification card. Cards cost $5 for Dunedin residents and are good for two years. Non-residents pay $55 for one year. Cards also are good for the 275 other Dunedin recreational programs.

    Chlorine leaks under fountain, injures two

    CLEARWATER -- The Pinellas County Hazardous Materials team responded to a leak at the Clearwater Beach roundabout Monday morning, when chlorine seeped from the underground mechanical rooms beneath the large oval fountain in the roundabout's center. Two contractors doing routine maintenance reported the leak in the fountain's chlorine-injection system at about 10 a.m., after they became sick from a plume of chlorine fumes. The two men, whose names were not available, were treated at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater for minor injuries from exposure to the chlorine, which can irritate the eyes and respiratory system, said Pete Huffman, the Clearwater Fire Department's assistant training chief. Part of the roundabout's outside lane was closed to traffic while hazardous materials team members donned bubble suits and entered the fountain's underground vaults to ventilate the chlorine fumes. The scene was cleared at about 12:40 p.m.

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