INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- Bob DiNicola, mayor of Indian Rocks Beach and practically an institution among beach communities along the coast, will leave Indian Rocks Beach to take up residence in Marion County.
DiNicola made the announcement timed for today. He and his wife, Renie, have not yet set a definite date to leave the city, but their plans for a new home have been in the works for some time, the Clearwater Gazette & Beach Views has learned.
His departure will put Vice Mayor Bill Ockunzzi in as mayor, a position he will fill until the 2006 election.
Ockunzzi's seat will be filled by appointment by the City Commission.
DiNicola has cut a familiar and very popular figure in Pinellas County and particularly among the beach communities for years.
A resident here since 1978, he and Renie came to Florida from Springfield, Va., where DiNicola calls Alexandria his native city.
He is now in his 11th year as mayor and prior to that served on the commission for eight years. In all, DiNicola has served in elected office for 19 of the last 23 years.
DiNicola was very instrumental in making the BIG-C influential in county affairs and has been on the Mayor's Council and Pinellas Planning Council.
He took an idea by Chuck Pollick, to establish a seaside trolley from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater, and ran with it, finally persuading the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority to inaugurate the trolley service.
A big bear of a man, he had a hug for everyone he met and an engaging personality that won many friends. Even political opponents found it hard not to like the popular mayor.
DiNicola and his wife plan to move to the "Villages," a community just south of Ocala.
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