Posts Tagged ‘Clearwater’

The college has completed the acquisition of the former Faith United Church of Christ at 2401 Drew St., about 4 acres adjacent to and just west of the Clearwater Campus.

Plans for the property are not complete, according to Susan Reiter, Vice President of Facilities Planning and Institutional Services.

“The college has been interested in that property for several years,” Reiter said. “We will be working on a master plan for the Clearwater Campus in the coming months, and this new property will be an important part of that planning process.”

The property could offer a new college entrance, Reiter said, and parts of the property may be used for additional parking on an interim basis.

“It’s not often that a piece of property of that size becomes available, especially in an urban area like Clearwater,” Reiter said.

The property includes a church building, a single-family residence and a small classroom building. Demolition of the house and church will take place in the next few months. The classroom building will remain for now.

Purchase price for the property was $1.3 million, Reiter said.

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Rod Keskiner, facilities worker at the Clearwater campus, celebrated his second Bar Mitzvah on Saturday at age 39. Rod believed that his cerebral palsy may have prevented him from fully appreciating his orginal Bar Mitzvah at age 13. Read the TBO.com story about Rod’s Bar Mitzvah here.

Here’s the speech Rod wrote for his Bar Mtzvah ceremony:

Twenty six years ago when I was thirteen, I had my first Bar Mitzvah. I had that Bar Mitzvah because I was in the Bar and Bat Mitzvah class and it was just what everyone did. I was too young to really understand that it was a commitment to my faith.

A year ago, Rabbi Birnholz and I were talking and he suggested the possibility of doing a second Bar Mitzvah to celebrate 3 X 13 on my 39th birthday.  At first I thought he was just being nice, and I worried if I said yes, I would be doing a Bar Mitzvah for the same reason that I did it when I was 13 – because it was expected of me.

Fortunately I talked to Cantor Bain and she helped me realize that Rabbi was really sincere about doing this because he felt it would help me to reconnect with my Jewish heritage.


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Want to help St. Petersburg College students clean up Pinellas County beaches? Here’s your big chance: SPC environmental club members and others will be out on the beach in Clearwater on Saturday, July 31, for a day of beach cleanup. Bags, gloves and water will be provided. Come help clean up for a few hours, then enjoy the rest of the day on the beach!

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     St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus Crossroads Gallery, 2465 Drew St., will host the 11th Annual Juried Student Exhibition April 5 – 20. The show will feature selected visual works from SPC students displaying their talents in a variety of art media.
     A reception will be held April 8 from 6 to 8 p.m., during which an award ceremony will recognize 12 of the most outstanding works in the exhibition. Awards will range from a $500 Best of Show to $50 merit achievements.
     The exhibition is open to the public. Admission is free.

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     The Tampa Bay area needs some sort of rail transportation system if it is to serve residents and attract new business, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard told a group of students and others Thursday (Feb. 4) at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College.
     Hibbard serves on the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, a regional group that is working on plans for a regional rail transportation system.
     A regional rail service would employ a “spine-and-rib” design, feeding riders from more far-flung areas to the rail stations by buses. The finished rail service would ease pressure on the region’s highway system, could tie in to a proposed Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail service, and would be a major asset in attracting new business to the region, Hibbard said.
     “We need it to attract jobs to this region – companies look for mass transit,” Hibbard said. “We are one of two top areas in the country that don’t have mass transit. Detroit is the other one.”
     High-speed rail service, much discussed over the years in Florida, got a shot in the arm recently when President Obama visited the state to announce his administration’s Stimulus package would fund a high-speed rail system between Tampa Bay and Orlando.
      Hibbard said that while the high-speed intercity system is important and desirable, it neither strengthens nor weakens the argument for a regional rail system. Such a system is needed, he said, whether it ties into a high-speed rail system or not.
     “I support mass transit because I want an alterative to the automobile,” he said.
     Hibbard said he had traveled to Japan to look at the rail systems of that country, and found them to be highly efficient. The trains in Japan, he said, “arrive within seconds of when they say they will arrive.”
     Hibbard acknowledged the high cost of a regional rail system – anywhere between $40 million and $65 million per mile. But he pointed out that highway construction costs are also high; the complex new interchange near the Tampa Airport, he said, cost about three-quarters of a billion dollars. Maintenance costs for rail systems are lower than maintenance costs for highways.
     About half of a new regional rail system could be paid for by the federal government, he said, and the local share might be funded by a one-cent increase in the sales tax. A significant portion of local sales taxes, he said, are paid through purchases made by tourists.
     An increase in the regional sales tax might cost local residents around $143 per household, but residents could realize significant savings that could offset the higher cost and more, he said.
     “What if you could do away with a second car?” Hibbard asked. “Everywhere rail has been initiated, ridership has exceeded what was anticipated.”
     Hibbard’s presentation was sponsored by Clearwater Matters, an ongoing forum that examines various issues of interest to Clearwater residents. Clearwater Matters was founded by faculty and administrators at the Clearwater campus.
     Audience members were encouraged to ask questions of Hibbard via their smart phones – questions were texted to him via Twitter or Facebook.

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