Tag archive


Scaled Back 4th of July Parade Set for Saturday

in news/town square
A 40 vehicle 4th of July Car Parade will pass through Safety Harbor. Watch from your yard,
Instead of a parade down Main Street, a 4th of July Car Parade will roll through some neighborhoods on Saturday. Residents can watch from their yards. Photo by Walt Belcher.

The annual Safety Harbor 4th of July Parade has been changed due to the COVID 19 virus threat and is now a 40-vehicle motorcade that will wind its way through some city neighborhoods.

This would have been the 12th year for what had become a long, colorful and patriotic march down Main Street.

Put on by Safety Harbor’s American Legion Post 238, past parades featured bands, floats, vintage cars, military vehicles, cars filled with dignitaries, motorcycles, bikes, and hundreds of spectators.

Because of social distancing and to avoid crowds, the city’s annual fireworks show has been canceled and Main Street is off limits for any parade.

“We had to scale it back this year but we wanted to do something,” said Ruth Ann Burgess, parade chairman with the Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 238.

The motorcade will not be on Main Street this year and citizens are asked to watch it from their yards.

It starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at Safety Harbor Elementary School and will end at the Legion Post’s headquarters on Legion Lane (see map for route). The Legion will be open to the public for a limited menu of take-away food.

If you don’t live on the route, there are a few places to see it, provided you keep the proper social distance.

Those who live along the route are asked to clear any cars from the streets and citizens are encouraged to decorate their yards with flags and 4th of July decor and watch from their yards.

“All of our vehicles will be decorated with flags,” said Burgess, noting that they won’t be giving out little flags to the children this year. “No one will be walking,” she said.

For example, the marching Palm Harbor Santas will be waving from a car this year.

The motorcade also will include a few members of the 501 Legion of Star Wars, the therapy dog group Paws for Friendship, Safety Harbor Recreation with mascot Fiona, state and local American Legion officers, and the Tampa Bay Posse (a Corvette Club with just two cars instead of the 30 that were in last year’s parade).

Also in the parade this year will be motorcycles from the American Legion Riders, two Ford Model T cars, antique military vehicles, the Tampa Bay Jeep Club, the Sons of the American Legion officers, Socks for Soldiers, Honor Flight, the North Pinellas Democrats and North Pinellas Republicans and a car carrying Congressman Gus Bilirakis.

Safety Harbor City Commissioners Carlos Diaz and Nancy Besore are scheduled to ride, and the Safety Harbor Fire Department and Pinellas Sheriff’s Department will be represented.

Pinellas County Commission Votes to Require Masks Inside Public Places

in city hall/news/photos
Face mask stenciled on wall with COVID-19 caption. (Photo/Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)
Face mask stenciled on wall with COVID-19 caption (Photo/Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)

After a discussion that ran more than six hours, the Pinellas County Commission voted Tuesday night to require everyone over age 18 to wear face masks in all indoor public businesses in the county.

The new ordinance, which has numerous exemptions, goes into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The vote was 6 to 1 with Commissioner Kathleen Peters voting against the ordinance.

Keep Reading

City Facilities Slowly Reopen Street Closures, Aid Debated

in city hall/news/photos

The City of Safety Harbor plans to slowly open city-run facilities that have been closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the goal of having city hall and the Safety Harbor Public Library open by June 1. 

The city pier and waterfront boardwalks were opened over the weekend, and the fitness center in the Safety Harbor Community Center could open next week, said City Manager Matt Spoor during the Monday night city commission meeting. 

He said these facilities will be opened under Center for Disease Control guidelines that include social distancing and limited capacity.  Face shields to protect employees are being installed. Spoor said that the city needs to careful about letting the public know about openings to avoid a rush or crowd that couldn’t be handled. 

There was a lot of discussion, but no action taken on offering financial aid to people and/or businesses hurt by COVID-19 closure.  

Also, no action was taken on Mayor Joe Ayoub’s proposal to close off a portion of Main Street to vehicle traffic to make room for expanded outdoor dining at restaurants for at least the next two weekends.  

Ayoub said Spoor had been in contact with several restaurants in town and the majority were in favor of the closures, even restaurants that would not be in area that might be closed off. 

Commissioner Carlos Diaz said that while he is skeptical about the benefits from doing this, he favored giving it a try.   

Commissioner Cliff Merz said he is concerned about what might happen if weekend closures created a “3rd Friday” festival atmosphere and drew crowds. “COVID is still with us and will be with us,” he said. “And the reason that it’s at the level is it now is because of the protections that were in place, so things are slowly opening, and we’ll see how that works.”  

He said it might work if the restaurants required reservations and customers came in an orderly fashion but if it became a “big collection of people” and it was up to law enforcement to break it up then that would not be the right approach.   Commissioners Andy Zudrow and Nancy Besore also expressed concerns about potential crowding. 

After a lengthy discussion among commissioners on what kind of financial aid to give to those impacted by COVID-19 with nothing settled on, Mayor Ayoub asked the city manager to gather more information on costs and administration of giving utility discounts of $1,000 to businesses that qualify and at least $100 to individuals that qualify.   

This information may be presented at the June 1 commission meeting. 

In other action, commissioners approved $62,500 for the installation of a 20-foot gazebo/gathering place for the Folly Farm city park. There were some objections from the public over spending these funds while some citizens are in financial need due to the pandemic. 

The mayor and city commissioners pointed out that this money is from capital improvement funds that can’t be spent on social-help programs.  The gazebo was a gift to the city from George Weiss who also donated the Folly Farm park land. He donated $25,000 for the gazebo in 2019 and its been in storage.  

The $62,500 was the lowest of three bids for land preparation, grading, concrete slab, gazebo assembly, electrical work, paved patio and other site work. 

PRESS RELEASE: Safety Harbor Library Home Delivery Service Updates

in news/town square

Home delivery of library materials is available for Safety Harbor residents of all ages unable to physically visit the library due to illness, disability, or injury. This service is free, available on a long-term or temporary basis.

    Due to the current COVID-19 conditions, the Library is offering delivery service to residents aged 65 and older who are not comfortable visiting the Library. Items are left in bags at your front door for return and pick up without social interaction.

    Home delivery patrons can call for advice on what to read or request specific materials. Items are checked out to your library card, delivered to your door, and picked-up for return by a library ambassador on a bi-monthly basis. If you need a library card, we can assist.  

For more information or to register for home delivery service, visit the Outreach page on our website for an application,www.SafetyHarborLibrary.com, emailoutreach@cityofsafetyharbor.com, or call 727-724-1525 x 4107. The library is located 101 2nd Street N., Safety Harbor, FL 34695.

Pinellas Sheriff Says Success For First Open Beach Day

in news/town square
Sheriff Bob Gaultieri discussing Pinellas County beaches opening on May 4, 2020. Yahoo News https://news.yahoo.com/sheriff-gualtieri-people-compliant-183654352.html (Screenshot/Kathryn Malaxos)

Hundreds flocked to Pinellas County beaches Monday and all went well, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri.

Gaultieri told the Pinellas County Commissioners this morning that 300 officers were stationed along the 35 miles of beachfront from Tarpon Springs down to Fort DeSoto as well as along the Gandy Blvd and Courtney Campbell Causeway waterfronts.

This includes 250 county deputies, officers from nearby municipalities, and officers from the Florida Highway Patrol. He said they were stationed at every beach access point and beach area parking lots.

“Yesterday was a very successful day,” he said, “It was a very busy day for early May but everybody abided by the distancing requirements and followed the rules.”

For an opening after people had not been able to go to the beach in a long time, it was a “very successful day,” he said.

He said the greatest challenge will come on the weekend when more people are expected to head to the beaches but the county will be prepared.

He said Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs and the Dunedin Causeway were at about 85 to 90 percent capacity while Honey Moon Island (a state park) was at about 50 percent capacity (which is all that is allowed now).

The Sheriff said he will ask state park officials if the capacity at Honeymoon Island could be increased. He said there were about 2,500 people in the park which was just about the allowed 50 percent capacity of 3,000.

“I’d like to see that number up to 4,000 because if they don’t, it will just create a bottleneck of traffic along the Causeway,” he said.

Another area of concern was at Pass-A-Grille where a public parking lot with 700 spaces filled up by noon. Visitors started parking on city streets which are for city residents with parking permits. “We had to limit access to Pass-A-Grille to control it,” he said.

Gaultieri presented a slide show of beach photographs taken from a helicopter that demonstrated how beach goers were keeping safe social distance. He said photographs taken from ground level could be misleading because it can look like the area is more crowded.

County Program to Aid Small Business Off to Fast Start

in city hall/news
Signs posted by Safety Harbor Gifts and Antique on March 22, 2020 signal the impact of the coronavirus on local businesses. (Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

More than 2200 applications for $5,000 grants to help small businesses in Pinellas County were filed when the program kicked off on Monday, according to Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton.

Burton reported to Commissioners at their Tuesday morning meeting that the program is moving forward smoothly with grant money going out soon.

The Pinellas County Commission has set aside $35 million to help “brick and mortar” businesses with fewer than 25 employees that suffered losses due to closure or cutbacks in service because of the COVID-19 virus.

The county estimates there are more than 6000 small Pinellas businesses, including many in Safety Harbor, that could qualify for a Pinellas Cares Small Business grant of $5,000 to cover things like employee wages, vendor bills and rent.

The goal is to get the grants awarded within 10 days. Burton said this is the first phase of a relief program that runs through June 1.

In the second phase, the program will be re-evaluated, and there may be funds awarded to businesses that are home-based, he said.

Pinellas County has $170 million grant to cover the small business grants and the Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance which is providing emergency payments up to $4,000 to help low-income families and individuals who have lost income during the COVID-19 crisis and cannot pay utility bills or housing costs.

Burton said Tuesday that over 5300 calls were received Monday for the Financial Assistance grants to individuals seeking aid.

To begin the process of determining eligibility, people can text “COVIDCARES” to 898211.  If they qualify, the money is paid directly to landlords, mortgage holders and/or utility companies.

Small business owners can get all the details about the business grant program and begin the process for obtaining the $5,000 grants by first going to https://covid19.pinellascounty.org/pinellascaresbusiness/

Go to Top