PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Palm Harbor is an unincorporated portion of Pinellas County which means the residents, through taxes, pay for their library and recreation.
Since there isn't a city-run Parks and Recreation department, it all goes through the Community Service Association (CSA).
The group here runs all kinds of events, helps maintain the parks and runs programs for kids and adults.
Erica Lynford, Director of Parks and Recreation at the CSA said, "We call ourselves a place to meet play and connect because it is you know. You find new friends. We've had kids go through our summer camp program who now work here. So it's just a whole cool circle to see happen."
Palm Harbor is home to one of the first covered outdoor spaces in Pinellas County, which was originally used for roller hockey. Now, it serves as a multi-purpose space for the community at the Sunderman Sports Complex.
"There is no membership fee, you don't have to live in Palm Harbor. As a matter of fact, our large summer camp program that was sold out way in advance this year, we have people coming from all over because you may work in Holiday or you know live in Holiday but work in say St. Pete. So this is on the way past. So yeah, anybody's welcome," explained Lynford.
Lynford also said they do USDA drop-offs of non-perishable goods through the RCS program.
"So we have volunteers and staff bag up, you know, 70 families worth of food. And we deliver probably 45 of them out to an assisted facility that houses most of the recipients and then the rest come and pick it up on-site," explained Lynford. "But that's something we've always done. We did that all throughout COVID. Even when we were shut down for eight weeks with no staff, minimal staff came in and took care of that those two months so nobody missed a month of being fed. And that's my most precious part of being the director like we're collecting now for Paul's Project here. And it's a great nonprofit that helps families that have a child battling cancer. And so every time the community reaches out, I feel like we try and answer."
The CSA also helps maintain and run the Rheba Sutton White Chapel and Harbor Hall.
Back in 1924, the chapel was handmade with bricks that were salvaged from the Florida Southern College Administration Building which burned in 1921.
Then, a newer church was built in the 1970s and Pinellas County purchased the original property and building in 1999. The chapel was restored and Harbor Hall was built next door.
"So it's just a neat one of those buildings that you have to go in and smell. You know, it has that historic smell," Lynford said.
Today, the church and hall serve as an event and wedding venue.
Read more about the CSA and what they have to offer by clicking here.