Council Tables Skate Park, Seeks More Details

On the verge of approving a construction bid to build a new skate park adjacent to the Recreation Center on Tuesday, August 7, Gulfport City Council members expressed their unanimous support for the facility but tabled the funding resolution pending a further review of design details.

The meeting was led by Vice Mayor Christine Brown who was sitting in for Mayor Sam Henderson.

Councilmember Michael Fridovich made a motion to approve the funding, which was seconded by Councilmember Paul Ray.

During the discussion that followed, Councilmember Dan Liedtke said he could not vote on the measure without first reviewing additional details beyond the printed conceptual drawing that was on display.

Liedtke said, “I want to see a more detail drawing of how the planned park is laid out” around the Recreation Center located at 5730 Shore Boulevard. “I’d like to see an aerial overhead that shows where it starts and the exact dimensions.”

Liedtke also said he thought the public may want to see more details.

“The first time this came up, I did get a stack of petition signatures from 200 to 300 people,” he said. “Maybe they would support this today if they saw some of the details that we’re seeing in front of us tonight.”

Additional details may alleviate some of those concerns, he said.

In the past, a smaller skate park was located in the Tomlinson Park Complex at 19th Avenue South and 54th Street South. In 2016, it was closed because it needed refurbishment. Residents also complained that it was unsupervised and that skaters often did not follow the rules.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Liedtke said, “I would be in favor of tabling it to another meeting.”

City Attorney Andrew Salzman provided clarification to the council that a motion to table a measure takes precedence over one to approve.

Liedtke then moved to table the funding resolution and Ray seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Councilmembers then directed city staff to provide additional information to them and the public for further review.

The current bid for $199,772.50 by Tampa Contracting Services is more in alignment with what City Manager Jim O’Reilly had projected for the cost of the project. According to city documentation, “The project was initially bid for the first time from March 5, 2018 to April 10, 2018. At that time the lowest qualifying bid received was in the amount of $299,584.45. This amount was approximately $130,000 over the project budget of $170,500.”

After April 10, city staff re-evaluated their bid process and made engineering changes, said O’Reilly. According to city documentation, staff received input from the St. Pete Skateboard Alliance, a group that also provided “substantial guidance in the development of the City of St. Petersburg’s large scale Regional Skate Park located in proximity to Campbell Park.” Gulfport’s re-bid process was from July 8, 2018 to July 23, 2018.

Based on prior council approval on March 1, 2016, city staff applied for a grant and received approval in the amount of $62,500 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Land and Water Conservation Fund Program for the development of a land area for public recreational purposes. The balance of funds needed for the skate park are budgeted within the Waterfront Redevelopment District’s fiscal year 2018 budget, according to city documentation.

If the council approves the current design, the new skate park will be a total of about 7,500 square feet, said O’Reilly.

The typical size of a two-car, single-file driveway in Pinellas County is 10 feet wide by 32 feet in length or a total of 320 square feet. So, the proposed skate park would be equivalent to just over the size of 23 driveways.

In addition, the proposed skate park is a playground that will be open to the public, said O’Reilly.

“It is going to be managed by the recreation staff,” he said. “It can be secured in the evening inside a fenced-in area at the close of business. There is no lighting on it so it will close at dusk. There are behavior rules about participating but there is not going to be someone monitoring it all the time. It will have security cameras like any other facility that is associated with the recreation department.”

Barry Rubin, left, receives the Spirit of Gulfport award from Vice Mayor Christine Brown at the Tuesday, August 7 council meeting. Rubin was honored for his years of service to the city as the president of the Gulfport Area Chamber of Commerce. On July 1, the chamber and the Gulfport Merchants Association finalized their merger to form one group that supports area businesses named the Gulfport Merchants Chamber (GMC). For the GMC, Rubin continues his public service as the chairperson of the commerce committee.

Casino’s New Roof Approved

At a total cost of $119,512, the council unanimously approved a resolution to fund re-roofing for the Gulfport Casino Ballroom located at 5500 Shore Boulevard on the shore of Boca Ciega Bay.

The popular 10,000 square foot facility, reconstructed in the 1930s, is an event venue for activities like dances, concerts, parties and weddings. It can accommodate groups numbering from 50 to 700 people with a dining capacity for 450. In 2014, the casino was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

According to city documentation, “the roof at the casino has been experiencing many leaks due to the age of the system and water has infiltrated sections.”

Alvis Construction Group Inc. of Sarasota was the low bid proposal for the approximately 12,000 square foot project. The roof consists of both shingles and a modified bitumen membrane.


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