Sunday, Jul 27, 2014
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City to allow vendors at three parks

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NEW PORT RICHEY - Build them and commercial vendors will come, New Port Richey city officials believe about local parks.City Council members recently gave final approval to limited commercial use in three parks, James E. Grey Preserve, Frances Avenue Park and Sims Park.The changes give vendors the option to sell food, soft drinks and ice cream at the Grey Preserve and Frances Avenue Park. The city also will permit rentals of bicycles, kayaks and canoes.Sims Park would offer only the rentals, plus regular boat rides. No food, drinks or ice cream will be sold there.The three sites were chosen because of their proximity to water, Elaine Smith explained as the city's parks and recreation director.Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips was fine with the idea, so long as vendors at parks don't wind up competing with downtown businesses. Permits would not apply during special events, city staff added."We need to be careful," Councilman Jeff Starkey advised, with thorough background checks of any vendors to turn up any criminal record. Smith noted that vendors would have to pass a sexual predator background check with a certificate of compliance outlined under state law. Many other safeguards are written into the ordinance, Smith wrote in a memo.Applicants must complete an application, provide insurance that also protects the city, obtain any health department certificate that would be necessary and pass an inspection from the development department.The city also would require a damage deposit, vending fee and city business tax receipt.The vendors would pay a $10 per site fee for a single-day permit for sales and rentals. The monthly permit costs $100.Boat ride operators would pay $200 for a monthly permit to utilize public dock space and docking boats overnight.corth@suncoastnews.com(727) 815-1068

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