Pavilion, Alcohol Sales Proposed for Sand Key Park
By Carl Wagenfohr
CLEARWATER - You might soon be saying goodbye to Sand Key Park's roving concession trailer courtesy of a proposal submitted to the Pinellas County Parks Department by Advantus Leisure Management Services, headquartered in Dunedin.
Services for the park's visitors are currently provided by J&M Enterprises, whose contract expires in September. They sell snack items from a roving golf cart, hot dogs, hamburgers and soft drinks from a mobile kitchen/trailer, and rent beach chairs, umbrellas and cabanas.
Pinellas County's Request for Proposal (RFP) for continued Concession Services at Sand Key Park received three responses - one from the incumbent J&M, a proposal of similar scope from St. Petersburg Concessions Inc., and a third from Advantus offering concession services similar to what they currently provide at Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Parks.
In addition, Advantus base of operations would not be a mobile kitchen/trailer, but a 2,200 square foot elevated pavilion that they would construct at their own expense. During the day, the pavilion would provide beach concession services to park visitors, and offer hot meals in addition to the standard beach fare of hot dogs and hamburgers.
The Sandbar Grill at Sand Key Park, the pavilion's proposed name, would be used after 4 pm to host "weddings, ceremonies, food functions and all kinds of other special events," according to Advantus' proposal. Those events would include providing "controlled and restricted alcoholic beverage services."
The size of the concession and the provision of alcoholic beverages at a park where it is currently prohibited were discussed at the May 14th Pinellas County Parks and recreation Advisory Board meeting. No one objected to the proposal, and several board members were supportive according to the meeting minutes.
The provision of alcoholic beverages also got the attention of Clearwater City Council member George Cretekos, a Sand Key resident. Cretekos said earlier this week, "We want to make sure that the county understands that we don't want a restaurant there serving alcohol that gets on the beaches that are a public destination." The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on the city's public beaches and parks, but Sand Key Park is governed by County rules, not the city's.
Pinellas County is preparing to review all three proposals, but a timetable for the evaluation committee has not yet been set. Meanwhile, the Clearwater City Commission is scheduled to discuss the proposed availability of alcohol at Sand Key Park at their meeting tonight.
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