Pinellas Park, Florida
Pinellas Park is a city located in central Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The population was 49,079 at the 2010 census. Originally home to northern transplants and vacationers, the hundred year old city has grown into the fourth largest city in Pinellas County, the most densely-populated county in Florida. The city and surrounding areas are almost completely urbanized. Pinellas Park contains a substantial portion of the Gateway area of the county, targeted for future infrastructure, residential, and commercial development as it sits roughly in the middle of the Tampa Bay area's over two million people. Though technically land-locked, its borders lie only a few miles from Tampa Bay to the east, and Boca Ciega Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. The city is known for its popular equestrian facilities and events, and many residents also participate in fishing and water activities in nearby venues.
|City of Pinellas Park|
|Incorporated||October 14, 1914|
|• Type||Council Manager|
|• Mayor||Sandra L. Bradbury|
|• Vice Mayor||Patricia Johnson|
|• City Manager||Doug Lewis|
|• City Council Members||Rick Butler, William E. "Ed" Taylor, Jerry A. Mullins|
|• City Clerk||Diane Corna|
|• Total||16.74 sq mi (43.35 km2)|
|• Land||16.06 sq mi (41.60 km2)|
|• Water||0.68 sq mi (1.75 km2)|
|Elevation||13 ft (4 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||3,339.37/sq mi (1,289.36/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0288936|
The city was founded by Philadelphia publisher F. A. Davis, who purchased 12,800 acres (52 km2) of Hamilton Disston's land around 1911. Promotional brochures lured northerners, especially Pennsylvanians, to the town, noting the pleasant climate in the winter and the agreeable agricultural conditions. The Florida Association, a corporation, set up model farms and offered a free lot in the city with the purchase of ten acres of nearby farm land. The primary crop promoted was sugar cane. By 1912, lots in the city were being sold separately. The City of Pinellas Park was formally incorporated on October 14, 1914.
Though not on the original Orange Line Railway, Pinellas Park did have a train depot, razed in 1970, on the line between Clearwater and St. Petersburg. The city lay on the vehicle road from St. Petersburg to Tampa. Growth was moderate until after World War II, when the city's population more than tripled.
Pinellas Park is located at  Pinellas Park city limits are contiguous with those of St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Seminole, Kenneth City, and unincorporated areas of Pinellas County. Annexation into the city is voluntary by both the property owner and the City Council..
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.2 square miles (41.9 km2), of which 15.5 square miles (40.2 km2) is land and 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2) (4.14%) is water.
Because of the city's relatively low elevation between major bodies of water, and its generally flat topography, it has historically been subject to flooding. Through construction of a network of drainage canals and other measures by the Pinellas Park Water Management District, flooding in the city has been greatly mitigated.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 45,658 people, 19,444 households, and 12,152 families residing in the city. The estimated population in 2016 is just over 50,000. The population density was 3,095.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,195.2/km2). There were 21,843 housing units at an average density of 1,481.1 per square mile (571.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.04% White, 2.09% African American, 0.39% Native American, 1.25% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.00% from other races, and 2.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.26% of the population.
There were 19,444 households, out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.4% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males. Like many areas in Florida, the population of Pinellas Park swells temporarily, but substantially, for half the year as mostly-retired adults (called "snow birds"), who reside elsewhere in the northern states or Canada during the summer, come to Florida for its mild winter climate.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,048, and the median income for a family was $41,072. Males had a median income of $28,208 versus $24,505 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,701. About 6.5% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.
Pinellas Park has a Council-Manager form of government. The current Mayor is Sandra Bradbury, who is the daughter of former Mayor Cecil Bradbury. The current City Manager is Douglas Lewis. Various volunteer citizen boards are appointed by the City Council to advise the Council on normal governmental matters.
Police and fire departmentsEdit
The City maintains its own Police Department of more than 150 employees. Police Chief Mike Haworth in 2015 assumed the position previously held by Dorene Thomas, the first female police chief in the county.
The Fire Department was established in 1912, when the City had only 50 residents. It serves the City and the surrounding areas.
The Police Department facilitates the Police Explorers, a youth education and service group. Likewise, the Fire Department facilitates the Fire Explorers. Youth in both programs are involved in community service as well as competitions among similar groups.
Pinellas Park is known throughout the Tampa Bay area for a series of community events held annually in a city-owned bandshell located behind City hall. The most popular of these events is "Country in the Park", a festival held every year generally on the third Saturday of March, but always after the Florida State Fair and Florida Strawberry Festival. The festival's popularity stems from its wide array of events, such as arts and crafts shows, NASCAR displays, popular amusement park rides, and multi-artist day-long concerts, and the fact that parking, entry to the festival, and attendance of the concert are all free of charge. As of 2011, the Country in the Park festival has been organized for 21 years straight. Another popular celebration among the locals is Pride in the Park. This celebration occurs during the week leading up to Country in the Park. Usually the night before Country in the Park, the firefighters' chili cookoff takes place at the bandshell.
Pinellas Park is home to a memorial to the Korean War, located in Freedom Lake Park.
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Mrs. Madalya Fagan was the first president of the library association, and through the efforts of this volunteer organization, the Pinellas Park Public Library was established in December 1948. Fifteen years later, the city of Pinellas Park took control over the library. Marjorie Trimble was the very first paid librarian, although it wouldn't be until 1967 when Ms. Harrop would be the first librarian who possessed a Master of Library Science degree to be hired. The first library building was located in Park Station, an old pump house in the middle of Triangle Park. The second library was then built at 5795 Park Boulevard, although that structure no longer stands. The current library was built in 1969, and is located at 7770 52nd St, across the street from City Hall and Pinellas Park Elementary School. The library was last remodeled in 2001 and has underwent several additions that expanded the original 7,000 square feet interior into 30,972 square feet, which includes over 26 adult desktop computers, 11 children desktop computers, a teen lounge, a quiet room, and two meeting rooms for rentals and programs.
On June 6, 2014 the library was renamed in honor of late director Barbara S. Ponce. Mrs. Ponce was promoted to community activities administrator and library director in 1999. The job placed her over the Pinellas Park Library, parks and recreation, and media/public events. 
The library houses a collection of over 100,000 physical items, including books, audio books, newspapers, magazines, DVD's, and Blu-ray discs. Special collections include an Asian Language Collection with materials in Hindi, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, a Spanish Collection, and an extensive collection of graphic novels and Manga.
These materials are available for patrons with Pinellas Public Library Cooperative issued library cards to check out. In addition to the physical collection, e-books and other digital services are also available.
The Barbara S. Ponce Public Library hosts numerous daily, weekly, and monthly programs for patrons of all ages. The Youth Services Department has programs for Children and for Teens. Under the programs for Children, there are five Early Childhood Programs: Bounce, Sing & Read Babytime (recommended for 0–12 months old) Read, Sing & Play Toddlertime (recommended for 1–2 years old) Preschool Reading Adventures (recommended for 3–5 years old) Night Owls Storytime (recommended for 3–7 years old) Family Fun Time (recommended for K-2nd grade) Wiggle, Giggle, Sing & Dance (all ages welcomed-registration is required) Bounce, Sing & Read Babytime encourages literacy at an early age, occurring on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., followed promptly at 10:30 a.m. with Read, Sing & Play Toddlertime. Preschool Reading Adventures occurs Wednesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Night Owls Storytime is held on Wednesday nights, starting at 6:30 p.m., and Family Fun Night is held at 7 p.m. on Thursdays. Wiggle, Giggle, Sing & Dance is the only Early Childhood Program in which patrons need to register in advance to attend. This program is held on select Saturday mornings, at 10:30 a.m.
The Elementary Programs are centered around Homework Help on Mondays from 5-7 p.m., and the Afternoon at the Library programs, which occur from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. throughout the weekdays. The Homework Help tutors are Youth Services Teen Volunteers, and every attendee is offered free printing (for homework only).
From Monday through Friday, afterschool children can attend Maker Monday and create artistic creations or use S.T.E.M. to tinker with contraptions and figure out how things work. Tabletop Tuesdays involve the children playing games with the Teen Volunteers; anything from Mancala, Chess, Checkers, Uno, to Monopoly. There are two programs occurring at the same time on Wednesdays. Library Explorers' Adventure Program (L.E.A.P) is recommended for K-2nd grade, and Wonder Makers: Lego® Robotics Club is for Grades 3 and up. The children can utilize Lego® blocks to make wondrous creations, and using the software program WeDo 2.0, can make their creations move. Registration is required for Wonder Makers, but not for any other Elementary Programs. Thursdays are reserved for Rad Readers, a book club that involves a craft or game that relates to the book being discussed. Lastly, Master Builders are held on Fridays, allowing attendees to build with Lego® pieces and have their creations placed in a display case each week.
Youth Services also hosts Origami Workshops on the second Tuesdays of each month, taught by Virgil Manning. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. and requires registration in advance. All ages are welcome, and no experience is needed! The Teen Programs include Teen Writers Club, Teen Art, Random Fandom Teen Anime Club, and Teen Makers: LEGO® Robotics Club. It is required that the participant be in grade 6-12. All of these programs are held monthly and require participants to register in advance. Teen Writers Club allows teens to workshop their writings and challenge themselves with fun and inventive writing prompts. Shrinky Dinks, quilling, painting, there are always new and diverse activities taking place in Teen Art. Random Fandom Teen Anime Club usually involves a craft or an activity, followed with the screening of 3-4 anime shows, or an anime film. Teens under 14 years old must have adult permission to attend, on the account that the library shows anime that is rated TV-14. Lastly, Teen Makers: LEGO® Robotics Club is the monthly/teen version of Wonder Makers: Lego® Robotics Club. The teens use the same Lego® kit and program to make their creations come alive. These programs and several library events are fueled by teen participants and volunteers and the library's Teen Advisory Board (T.A.B.).
Adult programming consists of monthly craft nights, an adult coloring club, free movie screenings, murder mystery nights, and technology classes. English as a Second Language (E.S.O.L.), American Sign Language, Origami, and Ukulele classes are also hosted by members of the community in conjunction with the library.
The Pinellas Park Civic Orchestra and the Sunsation Show Chorus perform regularly in the City-owned 500-seat Performing Arts Center. Regular theatre organ concerts are given at the City Auditorium, home to a "Mighty Wurlitzer" restored by the local chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society. The Pinellas Park Arts Society holds monthly themed contests in the Park Station building, close to the Creative District. To encourage artists to live and work in the district, the City has established two facilities: Studios at 5663 and the Artist Live/Work building.
The Tampa Bay Automobile Museum displays an extensive collection of historical automobiles with an emphasis on progressive engineering achievement, the personal interest of founder and benefactor Alain Cerf. The museum houses a unique working full-scale replica of the first self-propelled mechanical vehicle, the fardier of Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot. Luxury cars currently displayed and sold in Pinellas Park include Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Bentley, McLaren, and Aston Martin. These and a Maserati dealership are all located in the Gateway area near the Automobile Museum. The duPont Registry, a luxury car magazine trade publisher, is headquartered in Pinellas Park.
Car and truck aficionados display their prized vehicles nearly weekly on 49th Street and compete in the regularly scheduled shows. The Showtime Dragstrip provides a venue for drag racing fans. Nearby on the aptly-named Automobile Boulevard is Tampa Bay Grand Prix, where youth and young adults race high-speed go carts on an indoor track.
St. Petersburg College's Caruth Health Education Center offers a wide array of Associate of Science degrees in the healthcare field and houses a simulated hospital where students can train to handle emergencies and other aspects of healthcare apart from treating actual patients.
- Mike Cope, NASCAR driver
- Jesse Litsch, former MLB pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays
- Browning Nagle, former NFL football player
- Terri Schiavo, resident at a hospice during the case surrounding her end-of-life case
- Melissa Ann Shepard, Canadian-born criminal
- Rachel Wade, an American woman who was convicted of murder in the second degree in the murder of Sarah Ludemann
- Fez Whatley, radio personality
With its easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, Pinellas Park is home to many marine businesses, from manufacturing to service and supplies. Large optical manufacturers, including Transitions Optical, are located either in Pinellas Park or nearby in the broader area known as "Gateway". Davidoff of Geneva, a cigar and luxury goods company, has its U.S. headquarters in the city.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Pinellas Park facility specializes in metal forming, fabrication and assembly of components for military and civilian aircraft. Current and prior projects include the F/A-22, F-16, C-130J, C-5, U2, Northrop's E-2C Hawkeye, the Gulfstream G5, Goodrich Aerospace, Piper, the P-3, Atlas Launch Vehicle, Space Shuttle, and B-52 Bomber.
The C.W. Bill Young Armed Forces Reserve Center, a $47-million multi-facility training center for both U.S. Army Reserve and Florida Army National Guard units, opened in 2005 and serves thousands of soldiers yearly.
Several of the largest employers in Pinellas County occupy parcels contiguous with the city, including Raymond James Financial, Transamerica Financial, Cisco, FIS (credit card services), Valpak (advertising mailers), Orbital ATK (defense electronics), and Home Shopping Network.
The city has three concentrations of retail business all along Park Boulevard. At 49th Street, near the historic center of town, one finds traditional shops, small businesses, and restaurants. Just to the east, at U.S. 19, the Shoppes at Park Place anchor the city's second retail hub with big-box retailers and a large movie theater. At the western edge of the city, near 66th Street and Belcher Road, are more big box retailers, ethnic specialty shops and restaurants, and the enormous Wagon Wheel and Mustang flea markets.
Due to the significant Vietnamese, Laotian, Indian, and southeast Asian community, Pinellas Park is home to one of the largest concentrations of ethnic restaurants, businesses, and specialty vendors serving those communities in the southeast. The city's library maintains the county's only special collection of materials in Vietnamese. The population includes those with recent ancestors from Germany, Poland, Eastern Europe, Russia, Armenia, India, Lebanon, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
The Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce promotes the interests of local and nearby businesses, contributing to the overall vitality and cooperative nature of the mid-county economy.
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