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South Tampa

City to spruce up 10 parks

The parks will be improved using money from grass-roots fundraising, government grants and donations from nonprofit groups.

By CANDACE RONDEAUX, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 31, 2003


Picture this: lush green fields, water fountains, shiny new playgrounds. Those are just a few features the city has planned for several public parks.

Starting this month, Tampa's Greenprinting Initiative will renovate 10 parks throughout the city during the next decade, including some in South Tampa.

The program will help neighborhoods raise as much as $400,000 for park improvements through a combination of grass-roots fundraising, government grants and donations from nonprofit groups.

"This is a great way for neighborhoods to get involved and put parks in places where they're really needed," said Erin Budde, executive director of the Mayor's Beautification Program, which developed the initiative.

Program officials are eyeing several southside neighborhoods for the program, including Midtown, North Hyde Park, West Riverfront, Palmetto Beach and the Channel District. Neighborhood associations in those and other areas will be invited to come up with a plan to improve their parks, raise money and find volunteers to help maintain them.

The F.E. Lykes Foundation has promised $75,000 in annual seed money to help defray fundraising and planning costs for neighborhood associations. Civic groups selected for the program must commit to long-term park maintainance as well as fundraising to participate.

"We're excited. We're already looking at fundraising opportunities," said Andrew Baker, chairman of the program's steering committee.

The city has selected a park in Baker's neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights to pilot the program this year. Renovation plans for Giddens Park on N 12th Street are not yet official, but residents involved in the planning say improvements could include a water fountain, a new playground and new landscaping.

"It's going to have a tremendous impact on inner city development," Baker said.

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