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Council okays plan to revive Highland Oaks

At long last, $335,000 will fund improvements such as a bicycle path, medians, better lighting and sidewalk repairs.

By ANDREW MEACHAM
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 9, 2002


ST. PETERSBURG -- It has taken at least 20 meetings, three neighborhood presidents and three years, but on Thursday the work paid off for Highland Oaks residents. The City Council approved a plan that would funnel $335,000 to the neighborhood, most of it in Capital Improvement grants.

The neighborhood,bordered by 18th Avenue S and Murilla Way S, between 22nd Street S and 31st Street S, has endured a few stops and starts in its efforts to overhaul sidewalks, slow speeders, and install landscaping and improved lighting. Two Capital Improvement grants already in place this year and totaling $245,000 will fulfill many of those needs. The council approved an additional $90,000, as yet not funded, for the coming year.

The plan provides for traffic-calming devices along 18th Avenue S and a bicycle path and landscaped medians along 26th Avenue S. It will finance an evaluation on ways to improve safety in the play lot on Auburn Street, between 22nd Avenue S and 26th Avenue S, and to illuminate the alley that runs behind it.

It will repair and replace existing sidewalks from one end of the neighborhood to the other, including stretches of hexagonal block on 25th Street S and elsewhere.

Neighborhood planner Terese Hilliard noted the neighborhood's rich history -- a chronological map of the area is dotted with homes built between 1900 and 1926 -- and praised the residents' commitment.

"It's hard to get neighborhoods energized and charged up sometimes," Hilliard said. "Highland Oaks is different. It hasn't been just one or two people coming out and caring. It's been the whole neighborhood coming out and caring."

Highland Oaks Neighborhood Association president Betty Dendy said neighbors have come together in the past few years.

"We are beginning to solve our own problems," Dendy said. The association will begin planning a celebration at its monthly meeting Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at the Sanderlin Family Services Center, 2335 22nd Ave. S.

The North Kenwood Neighborhood Association invites neighbors to its eighth annual picnic Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at Booker Creek Park, 13th Avenue N and 22nd Street N. Organizers have planned music, games and prizes, including drawings for gift certificates. Edward White Hospital will supply the food and drinks. The North Kenwood boundaries extend from Interstate 275 to 34th Street, between Ninth Avenue N and 22nd Avenue N.

Meetings

AZALEA: 7 p.m. Thursday. Azalea Recreation Center, 1600 73rd St. N. Bob Ballou, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue Department, on hurricane preparedness.

CAMPBELL PARK: 7 p.m. Wednesday. Neighborhood association office, 1525 16th St. S. Neighborhood plan.

CHILDS PARK: 7 p.m. Monday. Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Ave. S. Open forum.

DISSTON HEIGHTS: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Gladden Park Recreation Center, 3901 30th Ave. N. Touch-screen voting demonstration.

EAGLE CREST: 7 p.m. Wednesday. St. Petersburg Catholic High School, 6333 Ninth Ave. N. Representative from Affordable Security Systems.

HARBORDALE: 6 p.m. Monday. Trinity United Methodist Church, 2401 Fifth St. S. Last meeting until September.

MEL-TAN HEIGHTS: 6 p.m. Tuesday. Bristle Temple Church, 2901 18th Ave. S. Final stage of neighborhood plan.

NORTH KENWOOD: 7:30 p.m. Monday. Edward White Hospital auditorium, 2323 Ninth Ave. N. County Commissioner Ken Welch; School Board candidate Mary Russell; MRI specialist David Matthews.

NORTHEAST PARK: 7:30 p.m. Monday. Masonic Home, 3201 First St. NE. Kip Koelsch of Tampabay Watch.

PALMETTO PARK: 7 p.m. Tuesday. YMCA, 3200 First Ave. S. Touch-screen voting demonstration.

FOURTH STREET BUSINESS: 6 p.m. Wednesday. All Children's Hospital conference center, 701 Fourth St. S.

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