They're Naming It The Calio Veranda
By Anne McKay Garris
Joe Calio, and his wife, Stacee, enjoy the view at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center.
Anyone who knows the history of Clearwater's wonderfully successful Sailing Center will not be surprised that the board of directors of the Clearwater Community Sailing Association voted to name the newly built veranda after Joe Calio, a long term resident of Sand Key.
The name will be official after the formal ribbon cutting at a party on Saturday, May 2, at 1 p.m., with ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. The public is invited but you are asked to make a reservation by calling 595-1334.
Back in 2001, when the Sailing Center was struggling to become self-supporting under city operation, Joe Calio decided to get involved. He put together a 501© 3 organization and contracted with the city to operate the Center.
Wisely using the involvement of volunteers to make it work, a sound business plan, and the on-hands management of former Center Director, Al Humphries. Calio soon had things not only working, but succeeding, also providing a wide variety of sailing opportunities for people of every kind.
They started with creating a base for another 501© 3 organization called Sailability. With equipment and trained volunteers, plus support from organizations like the Christopher Reeve Foundation and the Paralyzed Veterans Association, the Clearwater Yacht Club, the Sand Key Civic Association, the Tampa Bay Pilots Association, and the Clearwater Rotary Club, the Sailability program soon had people with all sorts of disabilities, including quadriplegia, happily sailing in Clearwater Bay.
From there the Pram sailing program for children as young as eight was developed. Teenagers are included with racing teams formed. Regattas are held, bringing people from all over the world to Clearwater. Sailing lessons are given to people of all ages. Sailboats are rented and much needed small boat storage is provided.
Rental of the beautiful Sailing Center building helps pay expenses of the sailing programs. With this much activity, the city was persuaded to use Penny For Pinellas funds to build a veranda, extending out from the upstairs meeting area. The just finished veranda is open air but with a roof which provides extra meeting space and extension of the uses for rentals. It also puts shelter over the ground level space below so sailors can get out of the rain and the sun.
On May 2, the major aim of the ceremony will be to honor Joe Calio for his contribution to the Sailing Center program. But those who know him will be also aware that, in his eighteen years as a resident of Sand Key he has served as president of the Sand Key Civic Association and on the Jolley Trolley board of directors. He has participated in committees for beach renourishment, persuaded the city to buy Sand Key Bay Park and provided public parking spaces to make Sand Key eligible for federal beach renourishment funds. He has worked to get 65,000 plants in place to build sand dunes on the beach and helped with the design of Sand Key Bay Park.
Some of the other improvements to Sand Key in which Calio has been involved include crosswalk islands, beautification of Gulf Boulevard, Christmas lights, the volunteer Beach Patrol, bringing a fire station to Sand Key. And, in his spare time, he has served as a member of the City's Environmental Advisory Board.
The applause for Joe Calio at the ribbon cutting of Calio Veranda, on May 2 needs to be loud and long to cover these, and the other benefits to Sand Key and the City of Clearwater which he has brought to our community in his retirement years.
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