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Neighborhood notebook

By ANDREW MEACHAM

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000


Pier Aquarium wants to teach water wisdom

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Pier Aquarium wants to visit your neighborhood. The aquarium has requested a $5,000 grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District to present educational workshops on ways to protect our most vital natural resource.

"WaterHood Workshops," which would be held at neighborhood association meetings and coupled with an activity at a later date, will focus on water quality, pollution, alternative water sources, and indoor and outdoor conservation.

The hands-on activities, presented with volunteer organizations, might include xeriscaping or cutting down Brazilian pepper trees (an exotic species that releases toxins harmful to other plants).

"Pinellas is one of the most water-starved counties in Florida," said Paul Anderson, the aquarium's education coordinator. "The more we can help (conservation) along, the better, and we'll be helping SWIFTMUD's goals as well."

Water availability is measured by such factors as rainfall and the height of the underground water table, Anderson said.

Some of the partners already on board to present activities are Tampa Baywatch, Boyd Hill Nature Park, Keep Pinellas Cities Beautiful, the Council of Neighborhood Associations, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

The plan calls for up to 10 WaterHood Workshops between March 31 and June 15, 2001. If more than 10 neighborhoods apply, a lottery would decide who gets the workshops.

Edible gratification for new sidewalks

In a gesture of thanks for new sidewalks, the 13th Street Heights Neighborhood Association served a first-class luncheon last week to 10 hungry workers and visiting city officials. Association president Dorothy Gilliam invited the neighborhood to her home at 1527 13th St. S.

Gilliam said the luncheon was a big hit with workers. The home-cooked spread included barbecued chicken, turkey, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, cornbread and rolls, sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie.

"We wanted to let them know we appreciate the job they're doing. They're brightening up the neighborhood with the nice new sidewalks, and we're so proud of it."

Old sidewalks were torn out and new sidewalks added throughout 13th Street Heights, which runs from Dr. M.L. King (Ninth) to 16th Street S, between 11th and 18th avenues. The city's capital improvement budget financed the $100,000 project.

Touch-ups for Crescent Lake tower

The water tower in the corner of Crescent Lake Park is due for a makeover. The city is choosing a contractor to paint the roof and recoat the tower's legs and stair railings, which have taken on some rust.

The roof will be painted black, but workers will have to be careful: The outside of the tank is also a canvas for a mural.

The 360-degree scene at Fifth Street and 13th Avenue N depicts tropical fish swimming through a coral reef. The tower gets a touch-up every seven years, said Rick Vochs, project manager for the city's public utilities department. Whoever gets the job must agree to repair any damage to the mural, Vochs said.

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