It’s official: the Jolley Trolley will be coming to Safety Harbor early next year.
The City Commission voted unanimously Monday night to approve an agreement that will allow the Clearwater based transit service to make stops in town for an eight-month trial period beginning February 1st.
“City Commission, this is a long time coming,” City Manager Matt Spoor stated, adding that officials were first approached in August of 2012 about bringing the trolley to Safety Harbor.
“In essence this is a partnership between the City and the PSTA and the FDOT for an eight-month trolley service that will run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
According to the agreement, the total cost of the service is $83,334. Of that total, the City and the PSTA will each cover $21,667, while a federal development grant will account for the remaining $40,000.
The City’s portion of the payment was broken down to three parts, with the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa and the Chamber of Commerce each contributing $5,000 and the city picking up the remaining $11,667 using CRA funds that have already been allocated.
Although the deal has been the works for more than a year, it was nearly derailed when Chamber officials had trouble collecting fees from local merchants as part of the separate but pivotal arrangement. However, after a late push saw many more business owners jump on board, Spoor announced the Chamber exceeded its goal by $5.00
Initially the trolley will run on Friday nights, all day Saturday and on Sunday mornings. Riders will be able to travel from Safety Harbor to downtown Dunedin, with the ability to take connecting services to Clearwater Beach. There will be a number of stops along the trolley route, including one at the Spa as well as Westfield Countryside Mall
Following the initial trial, which expires on September 30, 2014, the parties will have the opportunity to review and possibly extend the service; the federal grant money will be available for three years.
Before the trolley deal was official, some commissioners expressed their thoughts on the issue.
“Of the total cost, approximately 75-percent of it is being borne by other agencies, so it’s a good fiscal deal for us,” Commissioner Cliff Merz said. “And during the eight months that it’s initially on, there will be reports made available…providing all the necessary metrics to determine how well this is doing.”
“It gives us a nice opportunity to have the Jolley Trolley here and also determine its effectiveness before we make any final decisions later on.”
Safety Harbor Mayor Joe Ayoub made it a point to thank all the people who worked so hard to make the deal possible before giving the agreement his approval.
“I think it will be great for the City, and I look forward to getting it going,” he said.
Harborites, what do you think about the Jolley Trolley deal? Let us know in the comments below.