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St. Pete Police Athletic League gets a bounce as home improvement company moves to Clearwater

Margie Manning



Heather Robb, executive director, Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg

The Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg got a windfall in a Tampa company’s move to Clearwater.

PAL was given all the athletic equipment left behind when the Tampa company, Ridge Top Exteriors, bought a Clearwater site that previously housed an athletic training facility.

PAL, a nonprofit organization that partners with the St. Petersburg Police Department to provide safe, affordable afterschool and summer programs for at-risk children, is keeping some of the equipment and selling some of it, said Heather Robb, executive director.

“Right now, especially during Covid, so many nonprofits are struggling in the community. To have this donation is just incredible,” Robb said.

Robb was overseeing the operation Friday morning, as some of the larger pieces of equipment were sold to clear out the space for Ridge Top Exteriors. Ridge Top, through an entity called Thatcher Ave LLC, bought the 16,815-square-foot property at 10810 U.S. Highway 19 N. for $1.3 million on Oct. 5, according to Pinellas County property records. It’s three times the size of the company’s original space and offers better visibility and room for staff expansion, according to a statement from Ridge Top, which provides siding, roofing, gutters, windows and door installation and repair.

The sale agreement include all the equipment already in the space, including free weights, squat racks, AstroTurf and batting cases. Ridge Top decided to donate the equipment, and the seller recommended PAL, Robb said.

“We’re a company with deep roots in the community and giving back is part of who we are,” Larry Gebhart, Ridge Top founder and CEO, said in the statement. “Transforming someone’s home makes a positive difference in their life, and that’s what we do every day, so partnering with the Police Athletic League to create opportunities for young people was right up our alley.”

Ridge Top will move all its operations to the new site, but will also keep its Tampa property, a spokesman said.

The gymnasium at PAL

PAL,  located at 1450 16th St. N. in an old armory, has a big gymnasium that was renovated this summer, where it can offer all kinds of athletic activities, as well as a Little League baseball team, so it plans to keep some of the balls and associated equipment. The sports programs are part of the healthy lifestyle activities the organization offers to children, along with literacy enrichment and education, health and wellness, mentoring and career activities including working with St. Petersburg police officers.

PAL serves about 150 children ages 5 to 14 every year, charging $25 a week, but no one is turned away for inability to pay, Robb said.


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1 Comment

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    Mike Manning

    October 16, 2020at4:14 pm

    Very cool!

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