Board Members present: Tim Baker, Peter Belmont, Allan Brockway, Tim Clemmons, John Harte, Mike Johnson, Marilyn Olsen, Sydni Ann Shollenberger
Members absent: Richard Freeburg, Gene Ormond, Joe Pugliano, Marie Stirling
The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) held the first general membership meeting of 2009 on Thursday, January 8, 2009, at the Sunshine Center, 350 5th Street North, St. Petersburg. President Marilyn Olsen called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.
President Olsen introduced DNA Treasurer Allan Brockway who presented figures from the December 2008 financial report and reported on membership status, including renewed and new members. The report is posted on the DNA website.
President Olsen announced that minutes for the October 9, 2009, General Meeting had been circulated. It was moved and seconded that the minutes be approved as circulated. Copies of the October minutes were available for those attending the January 8 meeting, and the Secretary emailed them to another attendee who arrived after all copies had been picked up by others.
President Olsen then introduced the 11 candidates for the DNA Board of Directors who were running for reelection. She noted that one member, Tim Clemmons, would not rejoin the board but would continue to chair the planning committee as an off-board assignment. She said that a full board would have 12 members and called for any nominations from the floor.
Seeing none, Allan Brockway moved and Sydni Shollenberger seconded that the nominations be closed. Tim Clemmons moved that the board candidates be elected by acclamation. The motion was seconded and the slate was elected by acclimation.
President Olsen recognized City Council members in the audience, Jamie Bennett, Leslie Curran, and Karl Nurse.
President Olson then introduced the first of the evening’s three guest speakers, Dr. Walter McCracken, Deputy Director, SRI St. Petersburg.
Dr. McCracken presented a history of SRI, a nonprofit corporation started in California, where it is still headquartered, as Stanford Research Institute. The building to house SRI is under construction at the Port of St. Petersburg near the University of South Florida’s (USF) College of Marine Science and Center for Ocean Technology in South St. Petersburg.
The second and third speakers, representing The Pier Aquarium, were Executive Director Howard Rutherford and immediate past Board Chair Lari Johnson. The two presented information on a revisioning process in which the Aquarium has been engaged. The presentation included artists renderings of widely expanded display space which would allow students and others to interactively observe and use technology involved with oceanographic and marine studies, whether of aquatic plant or animal life, environment, pollution, weather, water temperature and its effect on life above and below water, etc.
Among locations for an expanded “Marine Discovery Center” the Aquarium is considering for either interim or permanent homes are: Muvico theatres space at Baywalk as an intermediate solution to the need for greater space and easier access by visitors, and on the roadway leading to The Pier, near the St. Petersburg Museum of History. The City’s visioning of changes to and improvements of The Pier roadway and The Pier building will also factor into an eventual location for the new Pier Aquarium/Marine Discovery Center.
Questions and answers followed Dr. McCracken’s presentation and the one by Howard Rutherford and Lari Johnson.
Council Member Leslie Curran announced that the Council has arranged another Pier Visioning session to be held soon with the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA). She also said that planning is in early stages for a public session to envision and discuss a City master plan for the downtown waterfront.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m.
Sydni Ann Shollenberger, APR
Downtown Neighborhood Association