Members present: Peter Belmont, Allan Brockway, Richard Freeburg, John Harte, Mike Johnson, Marilyn Olsen, Gene Ormond, Sydni Shollenberger
Members absent: Tim Baker, Tim Clemmons, Joe Pugliano, Marie Stirling.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) Board of Directors convened a meeting on Thursday, November 13, 2008, at the Florencia, 100 Beach Drive, St. Petersburg. President Marilyn Olsen called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Minutes from the August 14, 2008, board meeting and treasurerÕs reports for August, September, and October had been posted on the DNA website.
MOTION: Mike Johnson moved, Dick Freeburg seconded, that the minutes and treasurerÕs reports be approved as posted. The motion passed unanimously.
President Olsen called for Committee Reports:
Mike Johnson presented a briefing and progress report on the St. Petersburg Central Kitchen/Homeless Task Force, noting that many pieces for a Central Kitchen are in place except for the vital one of funding.
President Olsen presented information on the January General Membership Meeting. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 8, 2009, at the Sunshine Center Auditorium. The theme will be “Exploring the possibilities of marine research collaboration in St. Petersburg.” Speakers will be Larry Langebrake from SRI and Howard Rutherford, director of the Pier Aquarium.
Peter Belmont presented an update on the proposed Liberty Bayfront Hotel development that has called for demolition of two historic structures and moving of a third. One of the two historic structures slated for demolition is designated as an official historic structure. New appraisals by experts in moving old structures have indicated that this second home, known as the Bay Gables/ Chateau France building, is structurally sound enough to withstand moving and need not be demolished. The proposed development is on the south side in the 100 block of Fourth Avenue North, between Beach Drive and 1st Street Northeast.
MOTION: Peter Belmont moved, Sydni Shollenberger seconded that the Downtown Neighborhood Association Board oppose the demolition of the Bay Gables/Chateau France structure.
Discussion included the suggestion that the DNA vision statement include a stronger statement on DNA’s interest in maintaining the historic character of downtown St. Petersburg and that there be a fuller discussion at a future meeting to look at ways DNA might promote that aspect of its vision with elected officials and City staff. The motion passed unanimously.
Gene Ormond, membership chair, initiated a discussion on possible ways to build membership in the next year. Among items covered in the discussion were a wrap-up letter for 2008, indicating DNA’s achievement this year and in the past and looking toward current and future projects in planning stages (Olsen, Baker); revising the DNA brochure (Brockway, Baker); preparing a US Postal mailing of 2009 dues reminders to existing DNA members (Brockway and group); beginning to compile a more extensive database of email addresses of downtown residents; use of the Wednesday and Saturday Markets as a place to recruit new members; and exploring event possibilities early in 2009 for fall/early winter of 2009.
President Olsen brought forward a proposal that the group consider extending DNA’s boundaries to include residential areas west of Martin Luther King, Jr. (9th Street), the current western boundary for DNA’s official coverage area. The item was discussed briefly and then tabled for a meeting agenda in early 2009.
Parks Chair John Harte reported on improvement activities and events in the downtown parks, and President Olsen added information on lighting, sponsorships, events in Williams Park and the activities of Friends of Williams Park. A combination Williams Park Volunteer Work Day, Saturday Art in the Park, and Haz-to-Go trailer pick up of household electronics and chemicals will be scheduled for early December, coordinated with other properties adjacent to or close to Williams Park.
President Olsen also reported on progress in building the Waterfront Walk/Pinellas Trail along the waterfront parks in downtown St. Petersburg.
The final discussion was on the deplorable state of downtown temporary parking lots, several of which are in prominent places near or adjacent to historic buildings, condominiums, and office buildings. No action was taken, but individual board members indicated they intended personal efforts to rectify the City’s negligence in policing the condition of these lots and the intrusion of weeds, tree branches, and loose dirt and gravel onto public sidewalks.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:16 p.m. The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 7 p.m., at Bayfront Condominium, 1 Beach Drive South, St. Petersburg
Sydni Ann Shollenberger
Downtown Neighborhood Association