Fall 2017
Much has been happening with regard to the Waterfront Parks Foundations (WPF). Plans  are being completed for the Pier and Upland projects, a Referendum is going forward for a new Rowdies stadium and the waterfront parks are being used more than ever by our community and visitors! The articles included here provide an overview of the work in which we have been engaged these past few months.

I want to extend a special note of thanks to Tami Simms, our Treasurer, and Charlie Osterholt, our Secretary, for their outstanding dedication, time commitment and hard work in developing our organization. Thank you, too, to our Board of Trustees whose assistance  and support is so important to the continued success of our parks and our Foundation.
A BIG thanks to YOU for your generous service and contributions to the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation. Please contact me with your comments, thoughts or ideas, and continue to spread the 'Good Word' about our parks to your family, friends and visitors.
See you in the park!

Phil Graham, Jr., President
Waterfront Parks Foundation

You'll Be Hearing
More From Us!

As part of our efforts to keep you informed, we have engaged Therese Johnson, a seasoned communications professional, as our Marketing Coordinator to assist in informing you about WPF‐related  issues and the Foundation's efforts to protect and enhance our Downtown Waterfront Parks system.

Updates also are available on our
Facebook page which is ably managed by Velva Lee Heraty. We appreciate Velva's support on Facebook and we thank her for her photo contributions for these newsletter updates.

We also invite articles from the community regarding our waterfront parks and what they mean to you.

Like us on Facebook

Waterfront Parks Foundation

Spring Events Drew Crowds

Our third annual fundraiser, “The BocceBall,” was a success netting us $4,300.00 for use within the  waterfront parks for items not included in the City’s budget. We are most appreciative to the
St. Petersburg Parks Department for their outstanding assistance in this event. We also thank the great members of the Italian American Social Club for their participation as instructors and referees. We are planning a new fundraising event for next year that will accommodate more people in a fun-filled and comfortable setting. Updates forthcoming as the schedule is finalized.

We participated in both the St. Pete Wine and Food Festival and Earth Day events, manning a booth with volunteers and distributing information on the Waterfront Parks Foundation. We were well­‐received by the public and signed up many interested citizens for future correspondence and participation.



Our website,, is continually updated, and we are working toward an interactive site that will provide the community and our visitors with the “flavor of life” on St. Pete’s waterfront. When complete, the new website will contain relevant articles, user photographs, event schedules and more. It will be unveiled soon.
Board of Directors
Phil Graham, Jr., President
Charles Osterholt, Secretary
Tami Simms, Treasurer
Peter Betzer
John Bowman
Robert J. Carter
Mike Cheezem
Tim Clemmons
JP Fatseas
David Fischer
Doug Fisher
Harvey Ford
Philip Graham IV
Velva Lee Heraty
Mack Hicks
Don Howe
Joan Jaicks
Helen Levine
Kent Lydecker
Will Michaels
Sally Poynter
Ross Preville
Matt Shapiro
Robert Ulrich
Ex-officio, Mike Jefferis
Ex-officio, Ed Montanari
Stay informed about upcoming events in the parks on the City's
web site at


The State of the Parks Post-Irma

As we were preparing to send this newsletter, Hurricane Irma came barreling toward Florida, and Life-as-We-Knew-It came to a sudden (and fortunately brief) halt as the entire state seemed to prepare for utter disaster. Few would argue that Tampa Bay was most fortunate in being spared much of Irma’s fury, and most of our residents have begun a grateful return to normalcy.

Storm-damaged tree in Straub Park awaits pruning.

Now that the cleanup has begun in earnest, we checked with the Parks & Recreation Department for the City of St. Petersburg, and Superintendent Phil Whitehouse had good news to report: “Quite honestly, we really dodged a bullet.”

While a number of smaller trees fell, many were able to be righted and staked and should survive. Several larger trees in the waterfront parks—as well as a number of palm trees—were uprooted and will require stump-grinding and removal. Many trees also suffered broken limbs which will require pruning. Already, most of the damage has been cleaned up and removed, save for some uprooted stumps.

Currently the city is focused on city-wide debris removal and have enlisted the parks crews to assist, so the complete cleanup of the parks may  take some time. But as Phil reports, the Waterfront Staff is working hard to get the damage handled as quickly as possible.


WPF Advocates for Our Waterfront Parks

The Mission of the Waterfront Parks Foundation remains unchanged, “To support the preservation and enhancement of the historic Downtown Waterfront Parks for the enjoyment of the residents and visitors of St. Petersburg.” However, due to the Pier redevelopment, we increasingly find our organization in an advocacy role for the Waterfront Parks, as well. The debate continues from the early 1900s when some wanted the waterfront as an industrial port and others wanted a waterfront park. Thankfully, the park advocates won that debate! The Waterfront Parks Foundation was established in 2012 to uphold and defend that decision and assist the city of St. Petersburg in guiding the future development of our waterfront parks to preserve open views of Tampa Bay and guarantee  a high level of maintenance, function and aesthetics indicative of this valuable asset. We continue to celebrate its role as a centerpiece of our downtown, an economic driver for the community,  and its stature as the 3rd largest contiguous park system in North America.

The Foundation has become a major voice for our waterfront park system. We are advocates for the park and guardians of its preservation and character. This includes being alert to preserving green space, park‐appropriate facilities and furnishings including statuary, site furnishings, utilities, etc. We have been involved in the Pier development and Waterfront Master Plan Update issues, acting as a “voice for the parks.” Following is current information on the Foundation efforts:
  • WATERFRONT MASTER PLAN UPDATE—The Foundation participated throughout its development of the Master Plan and made recommendations that were included in it. We will continue to monitor the specific implementation of Master Plan elements as they relate to the Foundation’s Mission.
  • THE NEW PIER—The Foundation has been involved throughout the design process to offer suggestions as to how the Pier and Upland might best meet the City’s needs and still maintain the character of the parks envisioned by the Founders. Final plans are currently being developed by the design teams, yet there are still design issues to be resolved. From the beginning we have objected to the building of restaurants on the Upland Park property but, as of this writing, one is still being proposed. (If you object to a restaurant being built on parkland, contact your Councilperson and Mayor Kriseman and let them know that this is NOT what you want.) A small, transparent concession area has also been proposed, which may be acceptable as an alternative to a full-scale restaurant. In other matters the City and design teams have been receptive to our requests for modifications to the design.  We will continue to monitor the project’s progress.
  • THE FIRST AIRLINE MONUMENT—A dedicated group of citizens has been engaged in an effort to commemorate the First Commercial Airline Flight (the Benoist) made from the Pier approach in 1914. This will be an interactive public art feature being funded by private donations. While the Foundation does not favor monuments in the Waterfront Parks, we feel this historic, international event warrants a place at the site where it occurred. Final plans are being developed and will be shared when complete.
  • PARK SIGNAGE—Regulatory, wayfinding and identification signs within in the waterfront parks are being reviewed for uniformity, appearance and message. The WPF and the Parks Department want to reinforce the “branding” of the Waterfront Parks as a “park system” that conveys a unified, up‐to-­date and welcoming character. (WPF currently is in discussions with the Parks Department regarding this branding.) We thank HONNA (Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association) for their financial assistance with the first regulatory sign shown in the photo, which will be incorporated into the new signage program. .
  • BENCHES—The Parks Department  has  refurbished  the  finishes on many of the benches within the parks. The results have been good, but not as permanent as initially hoped. The City is reviewing options for future bench purchases.
  • UTILITIES—The Foundation has long brought attention to the utility blight in our parks. We have had some success in our efforts to remedy this problem. With the cooperation of Teco Gas, a major gas utility station has been removed, and a large irrigation control station has been relocated by the Parks Department to another location. Both of these utilities were located right on Beach Drive, across from Parkshore Grill, creating an aesthetic blight and a major distraction to views of the park and waterfront.

  • The gas utility was removed and the irrigation utility (both visible in the upper photo) was moved from Beach Drive to a less visible location.
  • We are pleased to report the City has directed the New Pier design teams to underground all utilities including backflow preventers (huge, blue above-ground pipes) on the new pier site. Power transformers installed by Duke Energy are an exception to this as above grade access is necessary for these structures. We have been told that they will be located in unobtrusive  areas and/or properly screened. We will be working to extend this philosophy throughout the park system to limit these functional but unattractive facilities from view.

    WPF's goal is reduce utility blight and get as many backflow preventers (huge blue above-ground pipes) as possible moved underground and out of sight.

  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT—The Foundation will continue to participate in variety of community events, bringing information to the public on our Mission for the preservation and betterment of our amazing waterfront park system. We are also continuing to meet with community organizations to explain the purpose and benefits of our organization. If you know of an organization with which you would like us to meet, please contact us.
Waterfront Parks Foundation MissionTo support preservation and enhancement of the historic downtown waterfront parks for the enjoyment of residents and visitors of St. Petersburg.
Copyright © 2017, Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation, All rights reserved.

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Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation · P.O. Box 76176 · St. Petersburg, Fl 33734 · USA

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