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Carlos "Chino" Rolon at SHAMC.

Safety Harbor supports Boricuas de Corazón

in news/town square

Hurricane Maria slammed onto the island of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated U.S. territory, in September of 2017. Following the storm, many residents left Puerto Rico for the U.S. mainland. According to Science News, estimates made from Facebook data suggest that approximately one-third, about 65,400 people, came to Florida. Twenty months later, the U.S. citizens who live on the island still struggle from the impact of the storm.

Safety Harbor resident and poet Carlos “Chino” Rolon decided he had to do something. Rolon says that many of the island’s homeowners live in houses that have been in their families for generations. “They can’t prove ownership,” he said, and so can’t meet FEMA requirements for aide. Rolon noted that there are many families with children or people with disabilities who have simply not been able to get adequate help.

Rolon organized a fundraiser at the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMC) to assist Boricuas de Corazón, a non-profit organization based in Brandon, in raising money for roofs, windows and front doors for families on the island. The original goal, Rolon said, was to raise funds for sixty homes.

On May 5th, locals and friends gathered at SHAMC to show support, raise additional funds and recognize community members and organizations who have contributed to the effort. Tampa band The Katz was on hand to provide entertainment.

Boricuas de Corazón, founded by Linda Perez Davila, also provides support for people who have settled in Florida after leaving Puerto Rico. For more information, Boricuas de Corazón can be contacted through Facebook, Facebook Messenger, or at (954) 496-1463.

Safety Harbor City Hall (Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

CRA and Commission update

in city hall/news

Community Redevelopment Agency

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) discussion was lively, lengthy and focused on a central question:

How do we make sure, as best as we can, that we get [architecturally beautiful buildings]?

– Commissioner Cliff Merz

The city staff will develop design specifications which will be presented to the Commission at the May 20th meeting. Residents who would like to weigh in can contact their elected officials or attend the Commission meeting on May 20th.

City Commission

The Kiwanis Club of Safety Harbor was presented with a proclamation honoring many decades of service to the Safety Harbor community. Members of the Kiwanis Club then presented the city with a check for $5000 for the Park.

Whit Blanton, Executive Director of Forward Pinellas, gave a presentation about the 2045 Advantage Pinellas Plan, a long-range transportation plan for Pinellas County. Of note: Blanton stated that housing and transportation costs comprise 68% of the average household budget in Safety Harbor.

The Commission approved all Consent Agenda items unanimously:

  • April 15, 2019 Commission minutes
  • Purchase of telecommunications equipment for two new Fire Department vehicles
  • Contract with Rowland, Inc. for Woodcreek North underdrain replacement project

The following new business items were passed, each with a vote of 5-0:

  • A code enforcement lien reduction request for 2175 Philippe Parkway
  • A professional services contract with Calvin, Giordano & Associates, Inc. for building official services
  • Appointment of Nadina Orozco to a two-year term on the Audit Committee

The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) Governing Board is comprised of elected officials from around Pinellas County. There was no recommendation for a Safety Harbor official to serve at this time.

Due to time constraints, the 2019 Goal discussion will be rescheduled.

Here we are

in news/town square

Welcome to the Safety Harbor Sun! We hope to become a welcome part of your world as a resident of Safety Harbor.

Our goal is to provide news and information that will assist you in making decisions as you live, work, and play in Safety Harbor. The advent of digital nearly-everything gives us a never-ending flow of information and a bazillion sources for it. In the midst of these advances, we’ve experienced loss. Journalism itself is criticized – often legitimately – as a result. We need trustworthy sources who will present useful information, who will report all of the facts as they become available, and who will be transparent.

We also need information for our daily lives. Remember the weekly section of your local paper that listed area churches and information? Remember when your local edition shared news about your child’s school – and when student reporters had an opportunity to publish their own work? Remember when the op-eds and letters to the editor were a forum for civil discussion about things that really matter?

Remember when the daily news was a part of your daily life?

Sure, we all can “google” anything. But googling doesn’t build community. It doesn’t connect you to your neighbors, their concerns, their celebrations. Our goal is to be a source and a forum – for you.

Join us.

Front yard gardens

in news/town square

Home gardeners have been tracking a particular bill through the Florida Legislature this session. Florida Sen. Robert Bradley (R.- District 5) introduced the SB 82 after a south Florida man was told to remove his front yard garden or incur daily fines. The Florida Senate passed SB 82 on March 21, 2019 and a related bill, HB 145 was approved by the House of Representatives on May 1st and awaits Gov. DeSantis’s signature.

Impact: This bill will affect folks who want to garden at home. Prior to this action, local governments could ban residents from growing food in their front yards.

Why should you and your neighbors garden?

  • Aesthetics: Gardens create a lovely and interesting-looking community. Gardeners design unique landscapes, often combining traditional landscaping concepts with a broad palette of color and diverse purpose.
  • Biodiversity: Home landscapes often seem to combine the same few plants over and over, but the yard of an avid gardener attracts attention. How? Successful gardeners know the importance of a thriving local ecosystem and include a wide variety of plants.
  • Pollinators: Have you read about bees and butterflies dying off and wondered how you can help? Gardeners know that their flowering fruit trees will not produce fruit without pollinators and so they learn to protect the insects that are part of our food supply chain. Gardeners create healthy ecosystems, planting flowers to attract pollinators.
  • Health: Gardening not only helps the environment, it also helps people. Gardeners benefit from the healthy food they produce– but the act of gardening is also exercise. Fresh food from local gardens is an opportunity for a healthier “you.”
  • Fun! Gardeners love to share. Sharing plants, flowers and food brings opportunity not only for learning, but also for connection and community. Consider joining local gardening groups, plant swaps and community gardens as a way to gain knowledge and make new friends.

Get started with home gardening

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