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Only two in fledgling fire panel show up

Three applicants for a vacant seat on the Lealman commission attend a meeting that becomes a non-meeting.

By ANNE LINDBERG

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000


LEALMAN -- Voters last month approved the formation of a fire commission to oversee the Lealman area, but its members have been unable to get organized and it's unclear when they will try again.

The commission's second attempt had to be canceled Monday when too few members showed up to hold a meeting.

Mike Brophy and Bill Adams were absent. Two members, Linda Campbell and Robert Carter, were present. The fifth commission seat is vacant because no one ran for it.

That appointment was the first item of business on the commission's agenda. The three applicants for the position were present but, without at least three of the elected members, the commission lacked the necessary quorum to meet.

"Unfortunately, we do not have enough for a quorum. We cannot vote. We cannot do anything," Campbell said. "We will do it when we know we have a full board."

It's unclear when that might be. Adams had said last month that he would be out of town for some of the holiday season, thus pushing any decision or organizational meeting into next year.

In the meantime, the Lealman Fire Board will continue to run the district. That group met Monday as three members -- Campbell, Carter and Kathleen Litton -- were present.

The three board members unanimously approved a plan to go ahead with construction of a new fire station. The first step will be a meeting with architects to discuss what will be included in the station.

"We need to move ahead," said Campbell, head of the fire board. "We're going to concentrate on our fire station."

The new facility will replace Station 18 at 4017 56th Ave. N. It's unclear what the district plans to do with that building.

The new station is planned for the northeast corner of the Lealman park at 54th Avenue and 37th Street N. It will include space for six to eight firefighters and a meeting room that can be used by the fire district and by community groups. An office that will house a Pinellas County sheriff's deputy also is planned.

It's unclear whether the county will put a community center on the site, as originally planned.

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