After receiving hundreds of emails and phone calls from citizens expressing concerns about the perception of "commercialization" at Fort De Soto Park, the Pinellas Board of County Commissioners today voted to reduce the scope of proposed enhanced services at the park and to reopen the bid process for a new concession contract.
During today's board meeting, County Administrator Steve Spratt thanked citizens for their input and said that employees and administrators have "put their hearts, sweat and careers into preserving Fort De Soto and they would never do anything that would detract from the natural qualities of this magnificent 1,136-acre property."
The new scope of services will be similar to those already offered at the park, excluding beer and wine, a trolley service, a full service restaurant and a boat ramp bait store. Fort De Soto already has food service, canoe and kayak rentals, a camp store, frozen bait sales and beach inflatables available for purchase under the present vendor. The current camp store, which is in a serious state of disrepair, will be replaced with a modular building.
Since the present vendor contract expires in June, Pinellas County's Purchasing Department will readvertise the new scope of services as soon as possible. The vendors who bid on the original request for proposal will be invited to bid again.
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