Round Lake residents wary of townhomes
By KATIE WILSON
Published May 1, 2005
ST. PETERSBURG - A cluster of townhomes and other developments planned to sprout up in the Historic Round Lake area has neighbors feeling a mixed bag of emotions.
The Historic Uptown Neighborhood Association president Tim Burns said that although neighbors welcome positive change, altering the historic identity of the area hits people in the heart.
"Our neighborhood fought pretty hard to get a historic designation," Burns said. "I think where feelings come in is when they see a house dropped, and then realize that was one of the houses that helped us get our historic designation."
According to Realtor David Price, who lives in the Round Lake area, the five development projects have either already started being built or are close to it. They all will house anywhere from three to 29 units, having close to 2,000 square feet, and will range in price between $329,000 and $399,000.
Price said property values in that area have gone up more than threefold in the past five years, and they continue to skyrocket.
"It used to be a neighborhood people didn't want to live in," Burns said. "Now people are spending $250,000 for a 950-square-foot bungalow."
Burns also said that the incoming developments responsible for this property value boom may not fit the style of the neighborhood, which is made up predominantly of small, bungalow-style houses built in the 1920s.
He cites one development at Sixth Street and 11th Avenue N, which will be a three-story condo with a 1930s "retroed-out" style. At 36 feet tall, the condos will tower over the smaller style homes.
Burns owns two homes in the neighborhood, one built in 1918, the other in 1923.
"Now I'm about to have a 36-foot-tall art deco townhome next door with people's balconies looking into my bedroom window."
Burns also cited some developments the neighborhood greatly supported, like the Round Lake Arcade at the corner of Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue N, and the Bank of St. Petersburg at Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue N.
"We definitely welcome development and growth," Burns said. "But for the most part I don't see that we're getting the kind of development that fits our neighborhood."
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After almost four years of planning, the city Neighborhood Partnership Department is close to completing a neighborhood plan for Greater Pinellas Point.
The planning began when the neighborhood received a Neighborhood Partnership Grant in fiscal year 2001.
A list of priorities was created with the input of neighbors and includes crime and safety, neighborhood character and identity, codes, parks and recreation, and environment.
The plan will be presented to residents of the Greater Pinellas Point neighborhood at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Lake Vista Community Center, 1401 62nd Ave. S. The vote to accept the plan will take place at the general neighborhood association meeting May 17.
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Despite looming rain clouds April 23, Pinellas Point residents rallied at an outdoor party to launch the Pinellas Point Foundation.
The foundation was created by Pinellas Point residents Mark Berset, Maren Cox, John Carnes, Gerry Lembke and Ronald Hersch who wanted to set up a not-for-profit organization to pay for beautification projects within the neighborhood, and provide academic scholarships for neighbors of all ages.
"We think we can do something great with this," Hersch said. "But everything starts off small."
Starting the night off was a 12-piece steel band from Academy Prep, a fifth- through eighth-grade school designed to provide children of low-income families greater educational opportunities. The foundation plans to donate some of the funds generated from the party to the school for scholarships.
The main fundraiser of the evening, besides ticket sales to the party, was an auction with items and gift certificates donated by local businesses such as American Stage, Bella Moda Salon, Savannah's Nursery and Shakolade, a gourmet chocolate shop, as well several works of art.
The fundraising and camaraderie continues Saturday with an evening at the St. Petersburg Little Theatre. A percentage of the ticket sales will benefit the foundation.
For more information on how to buy tickets through the foundation and support their efforts, contact Maren Cox at (727) 866-1053.
Disston Neighborhood Watch will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Gladden Park. There will be a police dog presentation followed by a presentation by Anna Aycock from the Pinellas County Consumer Protection Office about how to protect against consumer scams.
Euclid-St. Paul Neighborhood Association will meet at 7:30 Thursday at St. Paul's School cafeteria, 1900 12th St. N. Bob Jeffrey, assistant director of St. Petersburg's Development Services Department, will speak about new land development regulations.
Fossil Park Neighborhood Association will meet at 7:30 Tuesday at the North Branch Library, 861 70th Ave. N. The meeting will cover traffic-calming plans for Atwood Avenue, where drivers often speed and run stop signs. This will be the last meeting until September, when further traffic-calming plans will be made.
Highland Grove Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bridge, 2525 30th Ave. N.
Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Albright United Methodist Church, 2750 Fifth Ave. N. Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA) will make a presentation.
Live Oaks Neighborhood Association will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at a park at 52nd Street and Burlington Avenue N. There will be a potluck dinner in celebration of the fourth anniversary of the association. Crime watch begins at 6:30 p.m.
Mangrove Bayou Neighborhood Association will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Shore Acres Recreation Center, 4230 Shore Acres Blvd. NE. Elections for the board of directors will take place, and the traffic plan will be presented to the public for the first time.
Snell Isle Property Owners Association will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Woman's Club on Snell Isle, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE. Detective Randy Adams from the Identity Theft Task Force will discuss what's involved with identity theft, how to safeguard against it, and how victims should respond.
[Last modified April 30, 2005, 23:59:18]
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