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Flowering saplings will add local color

''St. Pete Blooms'' builds on David Fischer's green-tree initiative.

By BRYAN GILMER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 26, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- The 35 new flowering trees along Fourth Street S in Bartlett Park are the beginning of what the St. Petersburg Parks Department and Mayor Rick Baker hope will be a new infusion of flowering trees in the city.

The new "St. Pete Blooms" program aims to add trees such as jacaranda, tabebuia and acacia to the landscape. It builds on the program that former St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer initiated to plant green trees throughout the city.

"I can't say enough about the tree man, David Fischer," said Bartlett Park Neighborhood Association president Charles Payne, "because he's the man who made this happen."

The planting of green trees will continue at the same rate as before, park operations manager Mary Campbell said Tuesday. The first round of flowering trees cost $3,000 and was funded by the City Beautiful Commission. The city is looking for other sponsors for future plantings.

"We're hoping to move around the city, do a new location every month," Campbell said Tuesday at a kickoff event in Bartlett Park. "We're hoping to include trees that bloom at all times of the year."

She added that the city is working on a master plan to add flowering trees along interstate highways within the city as well as major streets. Campbell said Baker suggested the flowering tree program. He was ill and could not attend Tuesday.

Fischer, beaming, was on hand to say a few words, though.

"As a legacy for mayors and city councils to continue with, this is something that lasts 75 to 100 years from now," Fischer said. "Someday people will wonder, Who were those people long ago who planted all these trees?"

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