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Entrance now befits the name

A city grant and 3,100 hours of effort boost a community's curb appeal.

By RITA FARLOW, Times Staff Writer
Published October 7, 2007


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For years, the invasive Brazilian pepper trees and dead holly trees made a tangled, matted mess of the Starkey Road entrance to Paradise Island modular home park.

Now, after an eight-month effort led by residents, the strip of land sports bright new signs and native plants that create a welcoming entry to the park, homeowners said.

"This is a first step into a community. It's like the front door to your home," said resident Pat Humphries.

About half the project was funded by a $10,000 Good Neighbors Partnership grant from the city, said resident Janyce Cruse, who led the effort.

Grant guidelines required matching funds in the form of cash, volunteer hours or materials. Residents put in more than 3,100 hours and donated money to the project.

"Our entire community was involved," Cruse said.

Volunteers went door to door to collect more than 500 pledge forms to show the city that residents supported the project and were committed to maintaining the work.

Once they received the grant, they hired landscapers to clear out the dead trees and overgrown exotic species that cluttered the Starkey Road part of the entrance.

Next came drought-tolerant, Florida native species along Starkey and adjacent Willow Avenue, and a drip irrigation system to conserve water.

To comply with a new city ordinance, the residents removed the old pole sign and replaced it with a shorter monument sign with a logo designed by resident Marion Chase.

"It's amazing how much people can do when they're all working together," Chase said.

The new entrance better reflects the neatly manicured lawns inside the park and can also be enjoyed by the people who drive by on Starkey, said co-op president Ted Archer.

"It looks 100 percent better," Archer said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at 727 445-4162 or farlow@sptimes.com.

[Last modified October 6, 2007, 20:01:22]


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