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Neighborhood notebook

Take a gander to see what your neighborhood did or is doing.

By ANDREW MEACHAM
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 22, 2002


At year's end, CONA talks of gains, goals

ST. PETERSBURG -- Neighborhood leaders shared hopes and assessed challenges Wednesday at the Council of Neighborhood Associations' year-end celebration. Several speakers, most of them association presidents, made a point of saying that organization yields results, despite their struggles to keep members.

Here is what some of those leaders told peers at the Sunshine Center:

-- Historic Roser Park will apply for a $5,000-plus grant early next year from the Verizon Foundation to restore a pair of monuments and erect signs in Greenwood Cemetery. Part of the grant would convert a book about the cemetery by Pinellas Genealogy Society, a partner in the project, into a CD-rom and create a Web site, said Roser Park president Chris Kelly.

The association will meet in January to decide whether to support city plans to widen Roser Park Drive and to restore walls on both sides.

M Charles Payne, of Bartlett Park, thanked residents and Community Police Officer Anthony McCoy for helping to reduce crime and replace renters with homeowners.

-- For the first time in five years, Steve Plice will not represent Jungle Terrace as president. That responsibility shifts to Tom Killian, who a year ago attended at least 50 different neighborhood association meetings as Jungle Terrace's vice president.

Killian reported that neighborhood signs are in place and a Walter Fuller Park plan was approved. Jungle Terrace also sponsored a forum in response to the county's desire to use Lealman Discovery School space for extra bus parking.

And fliers to all residents netted 50 new members, Killian said.

-- Both Central Oak Park and Disston Heights started Crime Watch programs this year.

Incoming Central Oak Park president Dan Spice reported that the deck overlooking Jorgensen Lake behind the Main Branch Library is in except for a ramp. The neighborhood put in the deck with a grant from the city's Neighborhood Partnership. Ginger Brooks is heading the neighborhood's Crime Watch, Spice said.

Disston Heights also won traffic calming measures, expected to go in over the next year, president Jim Biggerstaff reported.

-- Mel-Tan Heights president Bessie Cannida said she expects a party in February to start the association's plan, which includes a history of the neighborhood.

-- North Downtown's Tim Baker said membership is healthy though 70-80 percent of the neighborhood's residents are renters. Baker also praised his members' involvement in shaping the city's master plan for bicyclists and pedestrians.

NoDo's social functions, including an annual picnic and chili cookoff at Demens Landing, have raised money for the association and for charity.

-- Old Southeast also used its tour of homes in the spring to generate $2,000, and under Karl Nurse has increased its membership to 125 of 500 homes.

-- Theresa McEachern of Harbordale celebrated the culmination of a personal quest, the Harbordale YMCA at 2421 Fourth St. S. The building houses the Y-Achievers, an after-school program.

-- Joan Deguire of Meadowlawn emphasized that neighborhood's commitment to helping Lynch Elementary School, which suffered a $15,000 setback. A volunteer was charged with theft. The neighborhood gave its $2,000 proceeds from a yard sale in September to the school, Deguire said.

-- Greater Woodlawn reversed a trend of declining membership this year, president Cathy Wilson reported. The neighborhood is pursuing additional lighting from the city, and expects to apply for historic designation next year. Wilson said residents can expect her to stay on top of zoning and codes revisions. "The codes must be rewritten in a way that allows us to expand, not hold us back," she said.

-- CONA has re-elected Brent Fisher as president for 2003. After the meeting, Fisher extolled the community involvement.

"If you just stay in your own neighborhood and say, 'Let's do this' or 'Let's do that,' you never get to hear what others are doing and how it is affecting others in the city," Fisher said. "We don't always agree on all things. But sometimes we can come to a consensus that something is better for the city, and the neighborhoods support it. That's the joy of CONA to me."

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