In May, Mayor Rick Kriseman appointed a 21-member Working Group comprised of leaders from the neighborhoods, local businesses and stakeholders from previous Pier discussions to determine the next steps in moving a new Pier plan forward.
The Working Group now invites interested members of the public to join in the process by attending one of five public input sessions to be held from June 19 to July 2 at locations throughout the city. At each session, participants will complete a questionnaire regarding the functional elements to be included in the new Pier’s design, take part in a round table discussion and have an opportunity to speak with members of the Working Group.
The meetings will be held:
Thursday, June 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Avenue S.
Tuesday, June 24 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Avenue N.
Thursday, June 26 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Roberts Recreation Center, 1246 50th Ave. N.
Monday, June 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Lake Vista Recreation Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at J.W. Cate Recreation Center. 5801 22nd Ave. N.
Also beginning June 19, those who are unable to attend one of the sessions may complete the questionnaire online at www.StPete.org/PierSurvey and submit any comments to the Working Group.
For more information, please contact 727.892.5400 or e-mail: India.Williams@stpete.org
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It has been a decade since the Grand Prix first took over downtown, bringing thousands of fans to St Pete.
A series of races along a picturesque 14 turn, 1.8 mile temporary track, featuring the IndyCar, Firestone Indy Lights, Pro Mazda Championship, USF2000 National Championship, Pirelli World Challenge Championships, Expanded Bright House Speed Zone, Yacht Club, Indy Fan Village, autograph sessions, Ferris Wheel, Stadium Supertrucks, go cart racing, celebrity sightings and more!
New this year, the HERO ZONE, a free, interactive military obstacle course, lets kids of all ages test their skills on some of the same obstacles faced by our troops in basic training. The HERO ZONE is deployed by Wish for Our Heroes and is located inside Gate 1, next to the Bright House Speed Zone. Inside the Speed Zone, get physical with rock climbing, power jumping, mechanical bull rides, a pit stop challenge, or gyroscope.
From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. there is a FREE shuttle service from Tropicana Field to the race course. Parking at Tropicana Field will be $10. The shuttle will pick passengers up on 10th St. S. and drop off passengers near the Hilton on Fourth Ave. S. between Second and Third Streets. There will be a two-block walk to the race entry gate 5. The shuttle will operate all three race days from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The 36th Annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, is set to sail into the Progress Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg from Thursday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 8
The show will feature an impressive selection of power boats and sailboats in water and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot clearspan tent housing all types of marine gear. Show-goers will find hundreds of power boats and sailboats including family cruisers, runabouts, fishing boats, magnificent sailing yachts, personal watercraft and much more. – See more here
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Oct. 24, 2013 – Eileen Benner says elevating her home in Atlantic City, N.J., was a “no-brainer” after it suffered extensive flood damage during Superstorm Sandy. “I would tell anybody who has the money available to go ahead and do it,” she says.
John Paynter’s Long Beach Island, N.J., vacation home now stands 13 feet higher than it did before the storm a year ago. He, too, says he’s glad he did it, though the process itself was nerve-wracking: “You heard a lot of cracks and creaks.”
Nationwide, insurance claims for flooding damage totaled on average more than $3 billion annually from 2003 to 2012, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). And rising sea levels and more severe storms mean that in some areas, more homeowners are finding themselves in flood zones for the first time, or in higher-risk ones.
The most common way to reduce the risk: elevating the home, the NFIP says.
The process can cost a lot – more than $100,000 in many cases, depending on the home’s size, location and foundation. But homeowners may be eligible to get some help from flood insurance policies and grants.
Flood elevation maps determine whether a property needs to be raised and by how much. Homeowners in high-risk zones who choose not to raise their homes could see their flood insurance premiums skyrocket.
Roderick Scott of L&R Resources, a Mandeville, La., company that does home elevations, recommends lifting a house 1 or 2 feet above the minimum needed to get a flood elevation certificate.
“You don’t want to elevate structures more than once in their lifetime,” he says.
Homes with an open foundation – with a basement or crawl space – are the easiest and least expensive to raise. “It’s easy to get underneath and get the structure of the house from underneath and lift it up,” he says.
Raising those built on a slab foundation takes more time and money. “You have to open up walls and remove lower cabinets,” Scott says.
Any air conditioning and heating systems in the basement must be relocated, as well as power and other utilities. “They have to go on or above the main level of the structure so they won’t be damaged,” Scott says.
And then there’s the question of how you’ll get up to the higher house. Where will you put the stairs, for example?
“A lot of seniors live at the beach. They may need to integrate a lift,” says Scott.
He uses a hydraulic machine to jack up a house, and says the process is so smooth that he once put a glass of red wine on a tabletop. “Not a drop was spilled,” he says. Still, he advises people to take pictures off the walls and pack up any valuable crystal.
A house may be set down on pilings or cinderblocks, depending on the height.
It’s likely that millions of homes will have to be raised based on redrawn flood maps nationwide, Scott says. However, Dan Watson, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says it’s difficult to say how many and where: “In some cases the risk has gone down and in some cases it has gone up.”
In 2012, Louisiana had the most flood damage claims, followed by New Jersey and New York.
In Brick Township, N.J., Mayor Stephen C. Acropolis says about 8,500 homes suffered water damage during Sandy, and that more than half of those will have to be raised because of redrawn maps. He says many people got temporary certificates of occupancy that give them four years to elevate.
His own home, he says, is “a 51 percenter – that means your house was damaged to more than 50 percent of the value of your home. And so is my son’s and a lot of people in my neighborhood.”
He’s not rushing into elevating his home, though. “We’re going to get prices, we’re going to deal with engineers,” he says. “I don’t see a ton of people elevating their homes right away unless they had the money.”
Benner felt she didn’t have a choice. The water in her duplex after Sandy was a foot deep. It cost $21,000 to lift the house, she says, and she expects the total bill to be $130,000 to $140,000. Part of that was offset by a clause in her flood insurance policy that gave her $30,000 to meet the new height requirements.
“By the time I’m done, my base floor is going to be about 12 feet” higher than it used to be, she says. “I feel comfortable.”
After Paynter’s house was lifted, “I had to build stairs. I had to build a front porch. I had to reattach the utilities,” he says. He also built a new chimney and redid the house’s flood-damaged interior.
Total cost? He estimates $140,000.
He moved back in in August. “I’m very happy,” he says.
Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced that Florida would file an amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, in the Mississippi Department of Insurance’s lawsuit aimed at delaying flood rate increases outlined in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
The lawsuit asks a federal judge to find that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) failed to deliver a homeowner affordability study of higher flood insurance rates by April 2013 as required under Biggert-Waters – and it asks a judge to block the current rate increases until that study has been completed.
Bondi says Florida decided to support the Mississippi lawsuit rather than file its own lawsuit on the off chance that the federal government will quickly address the situation, which could impact about 270,000 Florida property owners. However, the state may take other actions in the future.
“We haven’t ruled anything out at this point, but right now we’re joining Mississippi, and hopefully they’ll be successful,” Bondi says. “And again, Congress needs to take action and the White House needs to take responsibility for this and to protect Floridians.”
The 2012 act requires FEMA and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program is run, including raising rates to reflect true flood risk and to make the program more financially stable.
But Realtors and bankers have expressed concerns about the effects a phase-out of federal subsidies could have on the housing market – notably older properties – and the state’s economy.
The Mississippi lawsuit names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, one of its agencies.
However, FEMA Director Craig Fugate told a U.S. Senate Banking subcommittee on Sept. 18 that the study would take about two years to complete, and he said his agency is powerless to stop the flood rate increases.
“I need help,” Fugate told the subcommittee. “I have not found a way to delay (the rate increases) … without some additional legislative support.” Fugate, a former Florida emergency-management director, told the subcommittee members there is “no provision for affordability in (the Biggert-Waters) law.”
In June, the U.S. House voted to delay parts of the act, including putting a one-year hold on the rate changes FEMA is rolling out. The House also approved a delay in the removal of a longstanding grandfather clause that has allowed subsidies to be carried over when properties are sold.
However, a bipartisan Senate proposal to delay the rates for one year remains on hold.
Because of federal inaction, the Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee floated the idea that Florida could withdraw from the federal program, either by altering regulations to attract more private insurers to provide the coverage or through establishing a state-backed agency similar to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.
Source: News Service of Florida