Gateway and Euclid Heights aren't highfalutin, and that's just fine with longtime residents and younger newcomers.
By SHARON L. BOND
Published February 15, 2004
[Times photo: Dirk Shadd]
In Gateway, homes along 90th Avenue N lead east to Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church.
ST. PETERSBURG - Tall pines rise in the yards. Spanish moss hangs off oak limbs and the occasional power line. Houses call little attention to themselves. Carports are common. Groups of kids play basketball on portable hoops at the edge of streets.
Those are some of the ingredients making up the neighborhoods of Gateway and Euclid Heights, the only two areas in St. Petersburg where the median home price was exactly $100,000 through the first half of 2003.
What is a $100,000 neighborhood in St. Petersburg like?
First of all, it's below the median sales price for south Pinellas County as a whole - $124,900. But there are many neighborhoods below that number.
Euclid Heights and Gateway are modest neighborhoods filled with small- to moderate-sizedhouses that were built years ago with neat, plain faces. Two-story houses are few; most are one-story cement block, shingle or wood. Only a few new homes - with stucco exteriors, fan windows and tile roofs - have sprouted amid the older structures.
"This is a working people's neighborhood," said Molly Sanger, a retiree who has lived in Gateway for 30 years. She and her husband, Charles, work part time.
"We're not as fancy as (nearby) Barcley Estates, but it is a nice neighborhood. Younger people are fixing their places up," Sanger said.
of living (here): Research home prices
Although $100,000 is still a pile of cash, it doesn't buy a fancy house these days. That's true of much of south Pinellas County, as a Neighborhood Times story found in 2003. Kenwood, where only a few years ago $100,000 would have bought a sizable house, is among the neighborhoods where home prices are rising. And $100,000 won't get you near water.
To afford a $100,000 mortgage, a person needs an income of $32,000, according to state figures. At or slightly above that income level are brick masons, social workers, rock splitters, plumbers, pipe fitters, medical lab technicians, carpet installers and truck mechanics, according to Florida wage surveys.
Gateway has about 900 residences, including apartments and rental property, Sanger said. The neighborhood lies between 80th and 83rd avenues N and Seventh and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. streets N, and between 83rd and 94th avenues and Fourth Street N and King.
Sanger said she felt lucky 30 years ago to find her house, which has four bedrooms and a fireplace. She said it probably is bigger than the standard home in Gateway. She doesn't find $100,000 to be a high price tag for her neighborhood, although some do. Neighbors put their house up for sale, asking $127,000. Others on the street said they would never get it. But they did.
"It's a very good neighborhood because it is close to everything: church, schools and shopping centers," Sanger said.
The neighborhood is very near the newly renovated Gateway Mall. Sanger said she alternates between shopping at the Publix there and the one on Roosevelt Boulevard.
She wishes her neighborhood had more parks and recreation facilities. Her family uses Sawgrass Lake or Lake Seminole, both out of their area, for gatherings.
Sanger said she and her husband are not the only ones who have been in Gateway a long time.
"There are a lot of people on the street who have been here longer than us. Once people are in, they just stay," she said.
Younger people are coming in, and they are needed to keep the neighborhood vibrant, Sanger said.
John Salazar sees a lot of younger people moving into his neighborhood, Euclid Heights. He has been there for 15 years, living in a house owned by First Alliance Church, where he is pastor. Salazar also leads the Euclid Heights Neighborhood Association.
"It used to be a much older population around," he said. "People have passed away or moved into nursing homes."
Euclid Heights is the area bounded by King and 16th streets N and 46th and 62nd avenues N. Salazar said it includes 1,500 residences. For the most part, it is a well-kept neighborhood. Modest, Salazar said, describes it well.
His home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
"We would have very few that I would say are fancy. Most of them were built 20 to 25 years ago. Some are bigger than others," Salazar said.
Still, he thinks $100,000 probably is on the low end of a representative price for Euclid Heights property. A neighbor is asking $180,000 and probably will get it.
"Crime is down. We don't have trouble other neighborhoods have."
Plans are under consideration to update Roberts Recreation Center, the focal point of the neighborhood.
Because there is no burning issue, Salazar said it's difficult to recruit active members for the neighborhood association because so many residents work.
Basic shopping is convenient to Euclid Heights. Rutland Plaza is at 62nd Avenue N and King Street, and Gateway Mall is reasonably close by. For specialty items such as electronics, Salazar said, Tyrone Square Mall is the place to shop.