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Neighborhood notebook

Preservation group trying to organize neighborhoods

St. Petersburg Preservation Inc. wants to recognize more historic districts. North Downtown is a top priority.

By ANDREW MEACHAM
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003


ST. PETERSBURG -- Neighborhoods working for historic preservation now have an ally in St. Petersburg Preservation Inc. While SPPI's 1977 birth date hardly qualifies the group as new, president Chris Kelly hopes that recent meetings with neighborhoods will create an atmosphere of appreciation for historic structures.

Kelly took over three months ago as president of SPPI, an umbrella group of preservation concerns. He has since met with a half-dozen neighborhood associations in order, he said, to establish networks before the bulldozers arrive.

But the biggest event, cataloging more than 400 buildings in North Downtown, started six years ago and could see a finish as NoDo pushes for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.

Of the structures surveyed, the 356 found to have "contributing" historic value would receive tax credits for any remodeling or improvements done within guidelines. The area included runs from Central to Fifth Avenue N, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street to Bayshore Drive -- but not including the area east of Williams Park dominated by Baywalk and surrounding shops.

NoDo past president Tim Clemmons and SPPI addressed the association Thursday about the historic designation effort. Several hurdles remain, including the Planning Commission, the City Council, and the state.

SPPI hopes to increase its membership through a newsletter, a Web site, and events such as walking tours and seminars. "We're building a head of steam," said Kelly, 36, who also is president of Historic Roser Park Neighborhood Association.

SPPI recently invited Bartlett Park residents to help clean up Greenwood Cemetery. Bartlett Park president Tom Tito said that more activities like it are needed.

"Until very recently there has been no historical regard," Tito said. "If something was old, the city wanted something new. Then all of a sudden, there are too few of these old buildings."

* * *

A proposed Walgreens drug store on Fourth Street N appears to be moving without resistance from neighbors. Paradise Development Group will send a representative to Tuesday's meeting to talk over plans for the store between 76th and 77th avenues N, which would replace a Pep Boys Automotive Supercenters.

Fossil Park Crime Watch coordinator Norma Rantz said that nearby apartment dwellers would welcome being able to walk to the store for their needs. A meeting earlier this year for neighbors of the store drew a small crowd, Rantz said.

* * *

North Kenwood will send care packages to one of its own, Marine Lance Cpl. Chris Wulff. Automobile body shop owner Barry Wulff last heard from his 21-year-old son by letter from Iraq. "He said it had been a while since he'd had a shower," said Wulff, who had not heard about the neighborhood's plans.

On the homefront, Central Oak Park brings counter-terrorism expert Steve Valent to its next meeting. Valent's Web site states that the 25-year police officer, now retired, has attended more than 40 schools and seminars on security, crime prevention and anti-terrorism.

* * *

Two Easter egg hunts are scheduled for Saturday. The Lakewood Terrace event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the property at Seventh Street and 38th Avenue S. Crescent Lake neighbors meet at 9:30 a.m. in the wooded area in Crescent Lake Park bordered by Fifth Street and 22nd Avenue N. Call 892-8529 for more information.

* * *

Saturday also is lake cleanup day for two neighborhoods. Lake Pasadena and Eagle Crest will bring out kayaks and gardening tools to rid the lake of "water lettuce" that threatens to overrun it around the banks. Neighbors want to avoid seeing pesticides used, Eagle Crest president Lance Lubin said. The cleanup starts at 9 a.m.

* * *

Nine homes will participate in the Old Southeast Tour of Homes, set for Saturday. You can buy tickets at Beach Drive SE and 20th Avenue. The $5 admission gets you a map with a description and photo of the nine homes on display, a bottle of cold water, and a 10 percent discount at the Chattaway restaurant.

Meetings

CENTRAL OAK PARK: 7 p.m. Tuesday. St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4444 Fifth Ave. N. Aggressive Security consultant Steve Valent.

CHILDS PARK: 7 p.m. Monday. Childs Park Recreation Center, 4301 13th Ave. S. Neighborhood transportation manager Michael Frederick.

COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS: 7 p.m. Wednesday. The Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N. Police benefits; representatives from the American Heart Association, the Amber Alert system.

CRESCENT HEIGHTS: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Oak Pavillion, Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N. Mayor Rick Baker. Tour of gardens available to paid-up members.

CRESCENT LAKE: 7 p.m. Thursday. Huggins-Stengel clubhouse, 1350 Fifth St. N. Pinellas County School Board member Mary Russell.

EDGEMOOR: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Faith Covenant Church, 150 62nd Ave. N. Pastor Jeff Burton, on the church's revised development plans.

FRUITLAND HEIGHTS/CASLER HEIGHTS: 7 p.m. Wednesday. Omega House, 1837 20th Ave. S.

GREATER PINELLAS POINT: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Bay Vista Recreation Center, 7000 Fourth St. S. Officer nominations.

LAKE PASADENA: 7 p.m. Thursday. Unity Christ Church, 6168 First Ave. N. Lake cleanup.

LAKEWOOD ESTATES NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: 7 p.m. Tuesday. St. Petersburg Country Club, 2000 Country Club Way S. Non-profit organization Seniors vs. Crime.

LAKEWOOD TERRACE: 7 p.m. Thursday. Covenant Presbyterian Church, 4201 Sixth St. S.

MEADOWLAWN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Hope Lutheran Church, 1801 62nd Ave. N. Codes investigator Sam Levine; Public Service Representative Debbie Larson; police and fire departments.

NORTH EAST PARK: 7:30 p.m. Monday. North East Park Baptist Church, 3737 First St. NE. Bill Sundstrum, Sanitation Department. Petition to restrict roadside billboards.

NORTH KENWOOD: 7:30 p.m. Monday. Edward White Hospital Auditorium, 2323 Ninth Ave. N. Neighborhood Transportation Manager Michael Frederick; CONA's recommendations on police benefits.

PONCE DE LEON: 7 p.m. Thursday. Gladden Park Recreation Center, 3901 30th Ave. N. Representative of the county's Property Appraiser's office.

WINSTON PARK: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. North Branch Library, 861 70th Ave. N. Sheriff's spokesman Capt. Cal Dennie.

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