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Indian Rocks Beach neighbors divided over proposed new park

Posted at 3:11 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-06 19:27:32-04

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla. -- Indian Rocks Beach is one of the few places in the Tampa Bay area that has the small town feel that many locals like.

"That's why I love it here," said Jeanne Mele.

Mele has lived in Indian Rocks since the 1980s, because "you can live here very peacefully without dealing with traffic and congestion."

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Mele and some of her neighbors are worried that a proposal for a new park will ruin their neighborhood. If approved, the park will go on city-owned property on East Gulf Boulevard.

According to residents, the park would be right in the middle of their neighborhood.

"In theory, it sounds great because it will give the public another space to enjoy," Mele said. "But I think there are more negatives than positives."

The plans for the park include cutting down the trees, creating a walkway and boardwalk and creating a spaces for kayaks and canoes.

Mele and her neighbors said there will be nowhere for people to park, cutting down the trees will take away a home for wildlife, and "We'd lose the buffer between the condos and the homes."

There are some neighbors, like Anthony Drain, who support the park proposal. He said his neighbors are concerned over nothing.

"It's a great idea for the people that live in the neighborhood and want to access the water with kayaks and paddle boards," Drain said. "Without walking to 15th Street for the boat ramp or cutting through someone's yard."

The park is expected to cost about $170,000, but the city has budgeted $200,000. City officials hope to get half the funds from a Fish and Wildlife Commission grant.

Right now, leaders are reading through comments from locals. They will have another meeting before making a final vote.

Jeanne said she'll be upset if the park is approved, but she won't fight it."

"There's not fighting city all anyway," she said.