Dunedin & Palm Harbor, FL Real Estate
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Palm Harbor is a census-designated place and unincorporated community in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. As of the 2016 American Community Survey, the CDP had a population of 60,236.
Dunedin /dəˈniːdɪn/ is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Dunedin is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area and is the 5th largest city in Pinellas County. The population was 35,321 at the 2010 census.
Dunedin is home to several beaches, including Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island State Park, which is consistently rated among the best beaches in the world. Dunedin is one of the few open waterfront communities from Sarasota to Cedar Key where buildings do not completely obscure the view of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico beyond; a 1-mile (1.6 km) stretch of Edgewater Drive (also known as Alternate US 19) south of downtown offers views of St. Joseph Sound, Clearwater Beach, and Caladesi Island. Downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach are a 6-mile (10 km) drive south on Edgewater.
The downtown business district is notable for its absence of large commercial signage, corporate franchise restaurants or chain retail stores. The Pinellas Trail, a 39-mile-long (63 km) bicycle and pedestrian trail that traverses all of Pinellas County, bisects downtown Dunedin. A large portion of the trail lies on the former roadbed of the Orange Belt Railway, the first railroad in Pinellas County, which arrived in 1888.
Since 1977, Dunedin has been the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as the class-A Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. In April and May 2021, the Toronto Blue Jays played their regulation games at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, due to COVID-19 cross-border restrictions. Dunedin is one of the smallest communities used by Major League spring training teams, although surrounded by a large metropolitan area. TD Ballpark is situated next to the Dunedin Public Library a few blocks south of downtown on Douglas Avenue, and is just two blocks east of Edgewater Drive. The stadium was built as a replacement to Grant Field, the Blue Jays’ first spring training ball park. The library was founded in 1895 and is the oldest public library in Pinellas County.
Until early 2005, Dunedin was the home of Nielsen Media Research’s production operations. The city is home to multiple breweries including Dunedin Brewery, Florida’s oldest microbrewery.
- Osprey Place
- Stirling Heights
- Spanish Acres
- Spanish Place
- Lake Haven
- Virginia Crossing
- Waterford Crossing
- Fairway Estates
- Curlew Landings
- Golden Crest
- New Athens City
- Lake Highlander
- Dunedin Mobile Manor
- Spring Lakes
- Spring Lake South
- Golden Acres
- Ranchwood Estates
- Spanish Trails
- Trails West
- Barrington Hills
- Piper’s Glen
Dunedin previously hosted an office of Nielsen Media Research. In 2003 the company consolidated its employees in a new complex in Oldsmar, Florida, with workers from Dunedin and other areas in Pinellas County moving into the Oldsmar Building.
TD Ballpark and Englebert Complex are used by the Dunedin Blue Jays and spring training facilities for the Toronto Blue Jays since 1977. TD Ballpark was built on the former Grant Field c. 1930.
Dunedin has been accused of draconian fining of its residents. In one case, it sued a former resident to collect over a hundred thousand dollars for yard and swimming pool maintenance. There are cases where the city has charged tens of thousands of dollars over uncut grass or aesthetic city code violations. The city has a $250 to $500 per day accruing violation policy per city code § 22-79(d). “In 5½ years, the city has collected nearly $3.6 million in fines, sometimes tens of thousands at a time, for violating laws that prohibit grasses taller than 10 inches, recreational vehicles parked on streets at certain hours or sidings and bricks that don’t match.” The case was dropped about a month after it was initiated (in 2019) due to intense national scrutiny over the matter.
Dunedin’s major highway US Route 19 Alternate connects the city with the rest of Florida, while Main Street and Pinellas County Road 1 provides local connections.
The closest airport is St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport located southeast of Dunedin.
Richard L. Garrison was the first person given a land grant in Dunedin in 1850. The settlement was originally named Jonesboro by George Jones, the owner of the area mercantile. Two Scotsmen, J.O. Douglas and James Somerville, later named the settlement Dunedin after applying for the first post office in northern Pinellas County. The name is taken from Scottish Gaelic Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic for Edinburgh. With a dock built to accommodate larger sailing vessels, Dunedin became an important trading center and at one time it had the largest fleet of sailing vessels in the state.
Dunedin became incorporated as a town in 1899 in part as a response to numerous complaints about pigs running rampant in the settlement, leading to a still-standing ban on livestock within city limits. By 1913, the town had a population of only 350. It became incorporated as the City of Dunedin in 1926.
Dunedin and the Roebling Alligator
During and shortly before World War II the Food Machinery Corporation factory in Dunedin (now demolished) was the primary site for the production of the Landing Vehicle Tracked developed by FMC Dunedin’s Engineers and Donald Roebling of Clearwater from Roebling’s own Alligator.
Initial training on the LVTs was done at the FMC factory under the auspices of the first Amphibian Tractor School, led by Major William W. Davies. Until barracks and maintenance facilities were completed, the school and its students were housed in the Hotel Dunedin. After training, the Marines from the first Amphibian Tractor School were sent to flesh out the 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, which has served with distinction since. In mid-1944, the Marine unit in Dunedin was transferred to Camp Pendleton, California.
Located on Edgewater Drive, the Fenway Hotel is a historic hotel (c. 1927) that saw many famous guests throughout its lifetime.
Other historic structures in Dunedin:
- Andrews Memorial Chapel built in 1888
- J. O. Douglas House built 1880
- Willis S. Blatchley House built 1916
- Dunedin Golf Club 11th Hole Bridge c. 1926
Sister city to Stirling, Scotland, Dunedin has maintained and embraced its Scottish roots. Once a year, Scottish clans descend upon the city for the Dunedin Highland Games. Both Dunedin High School and Dunedin Highland Middle School have competition-level pipe and drum bands. The high school’s marching band is known as the Scottish Highlander Band, and both teen and adult members make up the City of Dunedin Pipe Band.
In addition to the Highland Games, Dunedin hosts many other annual festivals. The most popular among these is Dunedin’s Mardi Gras celebration, during which thousands of visitors descend on the small town.
The City of Dunedin currently operates under a nonpartisan commissioner-manager form of government. The commission comprises four commissioners and a mayor, who are elected by the registered voters under a staggered system.
The chief executive officer, known as the city manager, oversees the ten departments and the annual budget.
Currently, the Dunedin City Commission is made up of Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski, Vice-mayor Jeff Gow, Commissioner Maureen “Moe” Freaney, Commissioner Deborah Kynes, and Commissioner John Tornga. The city manager is Jennifer Bramley.
The city government is made up of ten departments with various divisions and sections. The departments are Administration, Human Resources, Information Services, Public Works, Parks & Recreation, Fire, Library, Community Services, Economical Development, Planning/Development and Finance. The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) oversees downtown projects and the needs of downtown Dunedin merchants and tourism.
Dunedin boasts an extensive Volunteer Services section, and enables all citizens the chance to have their opinions expressed and tended to. Currently, there are 39 boards and committees that serve as advisory groups to the city manager and the City Commission.
Law enforcement and fire
Dunedin Fire Department has 48 firefighters split into 16 members over three shifts. The department has 3 fire stations proving fire protection for Dunedin.
Pinellas County Sheriff Office’s North District Patrol provides law enforcement for Dunedin.
The city of Dunedin contains a Parks & Recreation Department, which provides low-cost recreation programming to the city’s residents. The city operates four recreation facilities, each one designed to provide resources for a specific age group.
In 2007, Dunedin opened its newest and largest recreation facility, the Dunedin Community Center at a cost of just over $10 million. The project was mostly paid for by the “Penny for Pinellas” tax. The St. Petersburg Times wrote that Marston “figured that since the county needs recreation programs of its own and the city needs a new community center, why not ask the county to pay for the project in exchange for access to the new facility.” Marston’s proposal marked a turning point for the city as it saved Dunedin taxpayers millions, and allowed Dunedin officials to replenish vital strategic reserves. The center features classrooms / multi-purpose rooms, dance and exercise rooms, fitness center, gymnasium, kids area, gaming room, library, playground, rental facility, stage.
The Dunedin Fine Art Center (DFAC), opened in 1975 has grown to be one of the most renowned centers for visual art instruction and exhibition in the southeastern United States. At nearly 40,000 sq. ft., DFAC houses 5 galleries, 15 studio classrooms, the Gallery Gift Shop, the Palm Cafe and the DLM Children’s ART Museum. Tampa Bay Times writer Lennie Bennett says that DFAC is “the artistic equivalent of a village square,” offering quality experiences to people of all ages.
Other recreation facilities includes:
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center – classrooms, game room, gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts, picnic area, playground, rental space, skate park, teen room
- Hale Seniors Activity Center – ballroom event rooms, classrooms, meeting rooms, exercise room, computer room, game room, gift shop, rental rooms
- Dunedin Nature Center
- Highlander Pool Complex/Kiwanis Spraygrounds – outdoor pool open from April to September
- Dunedin Country Club – a semi-private golf course with memberships available and the course is open to the public. The course was deeded to the city of Dunedin for recreational purposes in 1930 by the Contract Investment Company.
The city has a large athletic base, with community soccer, baseball, hockey, and softball teams. Dunedin reflected the Gaelic origins of its name by playing host to a short lived American shinty club, Dunedin Camanachd, in the mid-2000s.
In 2011 the City of Dunedin passed ordinance 2011-04 which authorized the street-legal use of golf carts across approximately 60% of the city.
City owned parks include:
- Achieva Paw Park
- Amberlea Park and Playground
- Dunedin Recreation Center and Playground
- Eagle Scout Park
- Edgewater Park and Playground – waterfront park with marinas and kayak launch area
- Elizabeth Skinner-Jackson Park and Playground – features a basketball court
- Hammock Park and Playground – located next to baseball fields used by Greater Dunedin Little League
- Happy Tails Dog Park (closed February 2019)
- Highlander Park
- Josiah Cephas Weaver Park and Playground
- Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center and Playground
- Scotsdale Park and Playground
- VFW Playground
Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park are located in Dunedin along St. Joseph Sound on the west side.
The city-owned Dunedin Marina has 194 boat slips and is one of the finest municipal marinas on the West Coast of Florida. The marina is located on the Intracoastal Waterway between Dunedin Causeway and Clearwater Causeways. It is home to the Dunedin Boat Club, one of Florida’s oldest Sailing Clubs.
The Dunedin Public Library has two branches, the Dunedin Main Library (located at 223 Douglas Ave) and the Friends Branch Library (located at 1920 Pinehurst Road), which opened in 2007. The library is considered the oldest library in Pinellas County. In 1895 Christopher B Bouton, a resident from Cleveland, gave the city of Dunedin 200 books for public use. Mr. Bouton’s brother owned the town’s meeting hall but gave ownership of it to the Dunedin Library Association to house the public library and a reading room. The building became known thereafter as Library Hall. In 1935, the City of Dunedin took over the Library when the collection grew to be 7,000 titles. As the population of Dunedin and the usage of the library grew, the facility was in need of more space. Two new libraries were built, one in 1956 on Louden Avenue and another in 1964 on Main Street. In 1976 the Library leased and moved into a vacant space in the Douglas Plaza Shopping Center, which was purchased by the City of Dunedin for the Library in 1986. In 1989, the estate of Franklin Chase Milliken, a retired attorney, was left to the City of Dunedin to benefit the Dunedin Public Library. After years of planning, the City Commission approved funding for a 38,000 square foot building in 1994, costing approximately $3.5 million. Soon after the Library’s centennial in April 1995, the collection was moved into trailers while the old building was torn down and a new one was built in the same location. The new building opened to the public on September 3, 1996.
As part of their offerings and services, the Dunedin Public Library offers monthly delivery service to homebound residents of Dunedin. Other offerings include a seed library where patrons can check out seeds for gardening, a knitting and crocheting group, and genealogy assistance. The Dunedin Public Library initiated a Little Free Library movement in Pinellas County. There are currently thirteen Little Free Libraries within Dunedin. The Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas, Inc., which promotes adult literacy in North Pinellas County, serves the Dunedin Public Library.
Dunedin Public Library is currently a part of the Pinellas Public Library Cooperative (PPLC), a coalition of all public libraries within Pinellas County, Florida.
Palm Harbor Culture
Palm Harbor is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of downtown St. Petersburg and west of Tampa. It is a largely residential community with several concentrations of commerce. Downtown Palm Harbor, north of Tampa Road between U.S. Highway 19 Alternate and Omaha Street hosts many small shops and eateries along with a handful of historic buildings. U.S. Highway 19, a mile or two east of downtown, offers access to higher concentrations of commerce, with an array of national chain restaurants and retailers. One entrance to Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, a nationally regarded golf course and home of the PGA’s Valspar Championship, is found on U.S. 19 just north of Alderman Road.
The historic downtown district of Palm Harbor, at Florida Avenue and Alt. US 19 and CR 1, has numerous festivals and craft fairs. Old Palm Harbor Main Streets, Inc., a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, hosts their signature event the first Friday of every month. “Palm Harbor’s First Friday Celebrations” are a popular community event for youngsters and adults alike. There are rides and games for the children, with opportunities to dine on food from the many local restaurants, enjoy local artists and crafters displaying and selling their wares. Annually, the first Sunday in October marks when the “Taste of Palm Harbor” festival is held. The event is presented by the Palm Harbor Junior Women’s Club with the proceeds benefiting their “Making a Difference” grants & scholarships program. The Taste of Palm Harbor traditionally offers live music and the tasting of samples from over 20 local restaurants, many of which make seafood their specialty.
Palm Harbor Government
Palm Harbor is an unincorporated part of Pinellas County. HB 183 – Town of Palm Harbor/Pinellas County, from 2009, was the most recent local bill that would have scheduled a referendum allowing Palm Harbor voters the opportunity to decide if they want to incorporate, but the bill died in committee. Pinellas County legislators had voted on January 22, 2009, to support a bill allowing voters in Palm Harbor to decide if they wanted their unincorporated community to become the county’s 25th city. It passed over the objections of Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, who said she was appearing in both her official capacity and as a Palm Harbor resident. The Legislature would have needed to first conduct a feasibility study to make sure cityhood made fiscal sense.
In 1985, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners enacted County Code 85-28, which set into place the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency (PHCSA), a special taxing district to which tax was levied in the form of millage to provide for recreational and library services to the unincorporated community. The PHCSA board is a volunteer panel elected by the voters within the district to oversee the funding of Palm Harbor Library, East Lake Community Library and Palm Harbor Parks & Recreation.
Palm Harbor Recreation
Palm Harbor has various recreational amenities. The area is home to John Chesnut, Sr. Park, located in the East Lake region, as well as H.S. “Pop” Stansell Park, located to the west of Palm Harbor Boulevard and overlooking St. Joseph’s Sound. The Palm Harbor Community Services District also manages several sport complexes in the community: Steve Putnam Park, Palm Field, and Sunderman Recreation Complex. The community activity center is located at 1500 16th Street, managed by the District’s parks and recreation department. This facility was originally constructed by Pinellas County in the late 1990s as a senior recreation facility, however lacked the funding to remain open and available to the community. The District received the property in 2004, and started youth, teen and adult programs, youth summer camps and community services.
Palm Harbor is also the home to the White Chapel. This historic facility, which was under Pinellas County ownership previously, lacked the funding to keep its doors opened and was given to the Palm Harbor Community Services District in November 2012. Now managed by the District’s parks and recreation department, the chapel was completely restored and is the site for many banquets, weddings and community special events. Harbor Hall, the banquet facility built next to the chapel, also serves as a banquet and recreational space.
Palm Harbor Library
Palm Harbor Library opened April 1, 1978, funded by a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU), and is the only library in the state of Florida funded by a MSTU. Ozona Elementary School teacher, Jeanette Malouf, noted that students did not have a library close enough to their homes to borrow books. The closest libraries at the time were the Dunedin Library and Tarpon Springs Library, both of which charged fees to members not living in their respective cities. Jeanette Malouf was the Vice President of the Palm Harbor Civic Club, which donated $400 as start-up for funding of the library. With donated books, and building supplies by various community members, the first floor of a home on 1205 Omaha Ave donated by Bill Honey was renovated into a small library, which led to the opening on April 1, 1978.
The Palm Harbor Library ran entirely on volunteers, which formed the group, the Palm Harbor Friends of the Library Inc. on December 18, 1979. The Palm Harbor Friends of the Library elected officials in 1980, where Jeanette Malouf was named director of the library. The library continued to run on community donations and fundraisers and their semi-annual book sales. With 10,000 volumes the library moved to historical Palm Harbor Methodist Church on 12th Street in Old Palm Harbor in December of 1980. By 1982 the library volumes had doubled to 20,000 and served over 2,000 families within the community, and also acquired a new service of accessibility through the donation of a large print section in memory of Lea Gibbons. As the library continued to grow, it needed more space. The Florida State Library opened up a grant for public libraries of $200,000 to be included 1984-85 budget. Palm Harbor Library encountered 2 issues in qualification for the grant, one was it could only be made to a government agency, and at the time Palm Harbor was unincorporated, but Pinellas County Administrator, Fred Marquis, supported their application. The second issue, was the community must match the grant of $200,000, which Pinellas County donated 8 acres of 6th Street, counting for $100,000, and the rest must be raised. Ultimately, the grant was vetoed by Governor Graham on June 30, 1983, due to funding and denied tax raises by legislation.
Through extensive fundraising and membership fees, Malouf and the Palm Harbor Friends of the Library continued work towards the goal of building the library. In February of 1985 Senator Curt Kiser proposed a bill to create a Special District Status for the Palm Harbor Fire District, which was approved in June. This allowed Palm Harbor to tax themselves for various services such as a library, which led to the development of the MSTU. In order to buy land for the Palm Harbor Library, a proposal for tax-free bonds was approved by the PHCSA and the County Commissioner approved the purchase of the site on Nebraska Avenue as the site for the Palm Harbor Library. The Palm Harbor Library officially opened at its new and current location on Nebraska Avenue on July 5, 1988.
Palm Harbor History
The area that is now Palm Harbor was largely uninhabited until settlers began arriving in the 1860s. The area became known as “Curlew”, with the Curlew Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1869, and the Curlew Methodist Church. A post office named “Bay St. Joseph” opened in 1878. In 1881, Henry B. Plant opened the San Marino Hotel in what later became Palm Harbor in 1885. The Gulf View Hotel also opened around that time. The Sutherland Improvement Company acquired land in the Curlew/Bay St. Joseph area and developed it into the settlement of Sutherland. In 1888 the Sutherland Post Office opened. The Orange Belt Railway reached Sutherland in 1890.
The name was changed to Palm Harbor in 1925. Sutherland boasted two beautiful hotels, the larger one becoming Southern College in 1902. It sat high on the bluff overlooking Sutherland Bayou and the Gulf of Mexico. Sutherland was thought to be named after the Duke of Sutherland, who visited these parts after landing at Tarpon Springs in 1887. Local pioneers dismiss this coincidence, pointing out that the name Sutherland is a shortening of Southern Land and Development Company, the group which originally platted the community in 1888.
Dunedin & Palm Harbor Schools
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