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Tarpon Springs RiverWatch

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Friends of the Anclote River Update 

 

Season’s Greetings to All, 

  

Wal-Mart 

A decision on Wal-Mart's buying the site of the former K-Mart in Tarpon Springs has yet to be announced. I understand that Wal-Mart has until the end of the year to complete its due diligence research. 

In the meantime Bob Guido, the Senior Project Manager for the Trust for Public Lands, is now actively engaged in trying to come up with a way for the City of Tarpon Springs or Pinellas County, or both, to buy the property on the Anclote River. Reportedly, Wal-Mart has placed this property on the market. 

Among the possible ways of funding the purchase is a Grant from the Florida Community Trust Funding Program. However, the availability of funds through that program is currently up in the air as the new administration in Tallahassee sorts out its priorities. Bob is simultaneously exploring several options for obtaining the funding and at the same time trying to contact a Wal-Mart executive with the authority and discretion to negotiate a deal on that property. Once he has obtained enough information, Bob plans to come down from Tallahassee and present the options to the CC/Friends and other interested parties. 

  

Cooper's Point 

I understand that the opponents of the destruction of the wetlands have filed an appeal of the land use amendment change decision, so that fight continues. 

  

Bald Eagle Ordinance 

The Planning and Zoning Board was unanimous in its recommendation for approval of the Endangered and Threatened Species Protection Ordinance when it recently came before that body for review. This ordinance, which the CC/Friends initiated a couple of years ago as the Bald Eagle Protection Ordinance, will have its first reading before the City Council on December 7th and the second reading on December 14th. Although it is not as strong as we wanted it to be, it is more legally defendable in its current form and still provides very useful measures to help identify and protect bald eagle and other species nests and habitat. Therefore, we plan to support it when it comes before the commissioners for approval. 

If adopted, this will be another important achievement of the CC/Friends in its effort to bring about more consideration and reasonable measures to protect wildlife and the environment during land development projects. 

  

Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Project 

The parties are still waiting for the judge's ruling from the hearing held in September. That ruling is expected at any time now. In the meantime, DEP issued a permit authorizing the city to pump water from the wells and that permit was immediately challenged, which could result in another court hearing. We will continue to monitor this program and become involved, if we determine it is appropriate and will be productive. 

  

Election 

It is time for our annual election of our Board of Directors. Therefore, the election of Board officers will be held during the December meeting. 

  

Meeting 

In keeping with our desire to support local independent businesses I am pleased to announce that the Eco Bean Coffee Shop at 501 North Pinellas Avenue, Tarpon Springs is now available and willing to allow us to meet there. Consequently, our next meeting on Tuesday at 7:00 pm on December 14th will be held at the ECO BEAN COFFEE SHOP. Please mark your calendars and note the change in location.  

The Eco Bean normally closes at 6:00 pm on Tuesdays but, Rachel, the owner, is willing to stay open until 9:00 pm in hopes that our business will justify her effort. Although there is no obligation for attendees to buy anything, it is important that we are all aware of and understand the basis of the meeting arrangement. Hope to see you at the Eco Bean on the 14th.

Andy Ennis