Southwest Florida Roundup
Caloosahatchee Connect pipeline project benefits water quality
Win-Win in the Pipeline
Fort Myers and Cape Coral are embarking on a joint project intended to help both cities. For Fort Myers, the Caloosahatchee Connect pipeline project across the Caloosahatchee River will enable the city to dispose of its surplus reclaimed water rather than discharge it into the river. For Cape Coral, the project means a supply of up to 12.7 million gallons of reclaimed water each day that it will use for irrigation and fire protection, rather than having to draw water from the city’s system of freshwater canals. Pending the proper permits, construction on the 7,600-foot, $25-million pipeline should start later this year.
“This project is a great example of cities working together to assist one another, but more importantly to find a solution that will benefit our water quality regionally,” says Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter.
- Suzuki Marine USA is moving its headquarters from California to Oldsmar in Hillsborough County. The move brings 50 jobs. Suzuki Marine USA, which makes outboard motors, is a division of Suzuki Motor of America.
- Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus, is stepping down and returning to teaching. Tadlock, 66, had been regional chancellor since 2018, when he replaced Sophia Wisniewska. He plans to remain in his administrative role until the end of this year and then return to teaching at USF’s College of Education.
- With term limits preventing St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman from running for re-election next year, two prominent politicians have announced plans to replace him. Darden Rice, a two-term St. Petersburg City Council member, and Ken Welch, a five-term Pinellas County commissioner, launched mayoral campaigns in January.
- Winter Haven approved an ordinance allowing residents to raise or keep up to five chickens per lot.
- Pasco County approved $25 million in incentives and road-building costs that allow Moffitt Cancer Center to move ahead with its plan to develop a 775-acre Moffitt campus near the future intersection of the Suncoast Parkway and an unfinished segment of Ridge Road. The $60-million project’s first phase includes an office park. Eventually, the campus will include more than 1.4 million square feet, including research labs, offices, light-industrial manufacturing space, as well as clinical space. Moffitt says the campus will eventually support more than 14,500 jobs.
- Construction is underway on a $35-million, 59-bed inpatient rehabilitation center, a joint venture between Tampa General Hospital and Kindred Healthcare. The Tampa facility will care for patients recovering from strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries and neurological diseases. It’s expected to open early next year. A 52-bed intensive care unit has opened at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers. The new unit is part of the hospital’s $347-million expansion.
- Qualenta Forrest is Tampa General Hospital’s new executive vice president and chief people and talent officer — a role that oversees the hospital’s human resources department. She previously worked at CHI St. Vincent, a regional health network in Arkansas.
- Tricera Capital of Miami has bought a 550,000-sq.-ft. office building in downtown Sarasota from George Spector for $35 million. The building, which dates to the 1980s and is currently named the BB&T Financial Center, is about 70% leased.
- Canada-based Sangoma Technologies bought Manatee County-based Star2Star, a cloud communications services and software firm founded in 2006, for $437 million. Start2Star has about 300 employees. Norman Worthington, Star2Star’s co-founder and CEO, will become chairman of the combined company’s board when the deal closes later this year.
- A hacker tried to poison the city of Oldsmar’s drinking water supply by adding an unsafe level of sodium hydroxide — lye — to the water. Sodium hydroxide is used in the water treatment process, but the hacker tried to add an amount 100 times greater than a safe level. The attempt was thwarted by a city employee who monitors the treatment process.
- VensureHR, a human resources consulting and support company, has opened a sales hub in Sarasota, bringing 100 jobs.
- A planned run of the musical Hamilton at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts has been pushed back from this summer to November 2022.
- Manatee County has targeted $12 million to families needing help to pay rent and utility bills. Karen Stewart, the county’s deputy county administrator, expects the money will benefit up to 1,500 families.
Read more in Florida Trend's April issue.
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