The City of Clearwater in partnership with the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners and Habitat for Humanity-Pinellas dedicated the 51st house and final home in the Stevens’ Creek Subdivision this morning. Habitat for Humanity partners and city employees who helped in the construction of the house for Andrea Hawi joined in the dedication. A signed football from Tampa Bay Bucs quarterback was given to Andrea’s son, and I was honored to have been able to present the keys to the new home to Andrea. Father James Paris of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church offered the blessing of the home.
Clear Sky Restaurants, a division of Frenchy’s Restaurant Group, has opened its newest restaurant on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater. The Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting and reception at the restaurant for its members. The restaurant features a varied menu and has an enclosed “garden area” dining section. Billed as a “global bistro,” the restaurant is across the street from the Capitol Theatre and will surely become a place to dine or enjoy a cocktail.
The City of Clearwater was re-designated a “US Coast Guard City” during a special ceremony at City Hall on August 4th, the 227th anniversary of the US Coast Guard. Clearwater is one of 21 US Coast Guard communities and the only one in Florida. A city must re-apply every five years for the “US Coast Guard City” designation, and Clearwater’s application was again coordinated by the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Captain Ward Sandlin, commanding officer of Air Station Clearwater, officer-in-charge CWO Tracey Randall of Station Sand Key, and Jeff Lawlor representing US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1, attended the ceremony. A proclamation recognizing August as “Coast Guard Appreciation Month” in Clearwater was also read.
For the last two weeks, Clearwater has been the national and international capital of the world for junior women’s fastpitch softball. The city first hosted the ASA Gold Championships. The 16-and-under title was won by Florida Impact Feldman, and Virginia Unity took home the 18-and-under title. Today, Team USA won the XII Junior Women’s Fastpitch Softball Championship with a 13-4 victory over Japan. Twenty-six countries were represented in this year’s competition, and Team USA finished undefeated during the tournament at Clearwater’s Eddie C. Moore Complex. The City of Clearwater and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater were instrumental in bringing these tournaments to Clearwater, and softball officials said that they would be interested in awarding future competitions to Clearwater.
As part of the Clearwater summer camp program, there is a section providing guidance on ten character traits — honesty, compassion, self-control, courage, cooperation, responsibility, diligence, citizenship, and leadership. Those campers who best demonstrate these traits over the course of the summer are brought to City Hall to speak on the significance of the various traits and to visit with me. The students and their parents are then treated to a lunch at the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center.
The City of Clearwater is again partnering with the Pinellas County Habitat for Humanity program to provide a site for 12 new Habitat for Humanity houses. These single family homes will be near the Pinellas Trail and will be off of Garden Avenue North. As the city continues to expand affordable rental and housing options, this new complex will complement the almost finished Habitat for Humanity Steven’s Creek subdivision. City officials, Habitat for Humanity staff and supporters, and families waiting for a home gathered at the site for this morning’s groundbreaking.
As the State of Florida mourned the one year anniversary of the horrific attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, hundreds of Floridians came out in various ways to remember those whose lives were tragically ended. Memorials were held, and OneBlood organized blood drives throughout the state. Tampa’s Mayor Bob Buckhorn and I joined in support of those efforts and, just as we had done last year, donated blood on Monday morning at the OneBlood Donor Center on Kennedy Boulevard. While thousands came out to donate after the Pulse Nightclub attack, few have returned to donate; but, the need for blood products is still there. If you are able to donate, please consider being a blood donor at least once a year and let each of us vow to join together to bring to an end these types of attacks of discrimination and hatred across the country.