Call to order: The board of directors of the Downtown Neighborhood Association met on Thursday, June 10, in the public room at the Florencia condominium building. The meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by president Marilyn Olsen.
Present: Marilyn Olsen, secretary Timothy Baker, treasurer Allan Brockway, and directors Gary Grooms, John Belovitz and Sydni Shollenberger.
Absent: Mike Johnson, Peter Belmont, Joe Pugliano, Marlys Meckler, Marie Stirling and Bob Calistri.
Minutes: On a motion by Ms. Shollenberger and a second by Mr. Belovitz, the minutes of the March board meeting were approved.
Treasurer’s Report: The report was approved after a motion by Mr. Baker and a second by Mr. Belovitz.
Membership:Ms. Olsen reported that several people became members at the most recent Urban Porch Party. That brought the paid membership past the 200 mark for the first time.
Bond Hotel: There was a brief discussion of a proposal for a “veterans reintegration” project that has been proposed at the now-vacant Bond Hotel at 4th Street N and 5th Avenue. Ms. Olsen and several board members met with the principals involved in this effort. Ms. Olsen reported that the group is in the very early planning stage, and it is too early for DNA to either support or oppose.
Graham/Rogall: Gary Grooms reported to the board that the St. Petersburg Housing Authority is near completing the sale of the Graham-Rogall project to a private developer, who intends to convert the former public housing project into non-subsidized affordable housing. The project is located within the DNA area, just east of Tropicana Field.
DNA Pamphlet:Mr. Baker presented the board with an updated copy of an informational pamphlet that the association uses to recruit new members and advertisers. He also presented a bid for printing the pamphlet in color from the company that prints the DNA newsletter. Mr. Grooms volunteered instead to print copies on his own color laser printer. Mr. Grooms and Ms. Shollenberger will work together to produce the pamphlet.
Annual Dues:The board continued a discussion that had begun some time ago about adding a household membership, in addition to the individual membership that is now available. Ms. Shollenberger moved and Mr. Grooms seconded that individual memberships remain at $15 per year, and that household memberships be available at $20 per year. The motion carried.
Vision statement: Ms. Olsen presented a draft of a Downtown Waterfront Vision Statement that had been developed by her, Mr. Baker and Planning Committee Chair Tim Clemmons. After some minor changes in wording, Mr. Belovitz moved that the board approve the statement. Ms. Shollenberger seconded. The motion passed.
The Vision Statement will be presented to the general membership at the July meeting. If the membership also approves the statement, then board members will meet with City Council members and push to have the statement adopted as official city policy. The goal would be to have it adopted this year, which marks the Centennial of the first Downtown waterfront park.
The Vision Statement is not an actual plan, but would provide a framework for adopting policies that would guide any future developments in the park.
Following these minutes is the text of the Vision Statement, as adopted by the board.
Adjourn: The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Text of Vision Statement
A string of Downtown waterfront parks and related public facilities give identity to the City of St. Petersburg, announcing to all that it will attract residents and visitors alike through the beauty of its natural setting, rather than through industry or trade. Indeed, this was the very issue that the cityÕs founders debated in the early 20th Century, when the first parcels of land were acquired for the purpose of supplanting early industrial uses with the green of a park.Ê
During the past century, change has come to these parks, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad, and the CityÕs attention to them has waxed and waned. Overall, though, the City has been a good steward of this great resource, and in recent years public use has been higher than ever. The gorgeous panorama presented by the waterfront lures numerous special events; has brought major investments in new residential buildings and cultural venues; and has nurtured a lively street life. DowntownÕs public, commercial and residential realms are knit together at Beach Drive, which is lined with residential high-rises that are anchored by cafes and restaurants that offer outdoor seating to take advantage of the park and water views.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association believes that the City of St. Petersburg should be open to positive changes in the park system, while being careful to avoid injurious changes. To accomplish this, a clear vision for the future of the Downtown Waterfront is needed. While each individual park or facility is important, the overall vision must address the whole as a unified system, with the recognition that this whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
It is the goal of this document to provide a framework for making future decisions about our system of Downtown waterfront parks and facilities.
PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT: As the most significant collection of public spaces and facilities within the city, the downtown waterfront parks shall be eternally preserved and continually improved.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: St. Petersburg shall manifest its commitment to the waterfront environment through best practices for building construction and operations, water conservation, landscaping, marina operations, and marine habitat restoration.
PEDESTRIAN FIRST: Within the waterfront parks, priority shall be given first to pedestrians, and then to cyclists and public transit, with significant reductions in automobile traffic and parking.
BALANCED USES: The waterfront district shall have a balance of active and passive places and facilities such that both residents and visitors are frequently drawn to it for a variety of uses and activities.
DOWNTOWN CONNECTIONS: The waterfront parks shall be integrated with downtown, both physically and visually, through such means as pedestrian connections, view corridors, transit routes, and appropriate edges.
Adjourn – The meeting adjourned at about 8:30 p.m.
Timothy J. Baker,