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Waterfront Parks Foundation
Proudly supporting St. Petersburg, Florida's waterfront parks!
NOVEMBER 2020
VOL. 1, ISSUE 5

Message from our President

Park Updates

The Pier is completed, and our community is discovering its many features. It has been a long time coming and many are pleased with what they see! We are hopeful this project will achieve the intended goals of activating the entire Pier area as an inviting attraction for residents and visitors alike. 

The COVID-19 lock down has been stressful. However, out of hardship can come opportunity! In my visits to the waterfront parks these past months, it is apparent that our community has discovered--or rediscovered--the value of these beautiful open spaces. I am delighted at the numbers of people enjoying our parks, whether walking, biking, exercising, sitting and chatting, contemplating, picnicking, sunbathing, swinging in hammocks, engaging in sports, using the dog park, or just enjoying views of Tampa Bay. The pandemic has been a catalyst for many to get out of their confines and enjoy the benefits of nature and fresh air in our waterfront parks! Our own family got together recently at Flora Wylie Park. We each brought our folding chairs and our snacks, arranged our seating in a large circle and had a wonderful afternoon of fun and laughter. We put a big blanket in the middle of the circle where the youngest could play. There were many other groups in the park that day. We were impressed that everyone spaced themselves a distance from other groups so that we were all comfortable with room to spare.  

How fortunate we are to have this open green space, recreation, and beauty right in our front yard! We continue to be grateful to our founders for their long-range vision and the commitment that benefits us still today. It is the mission of the Waterfront Parks Foundation to continue to preserve and maintain this great treasure. 

More good news; everyone is enjoying the beautiful new flower beds! We will be changing the flowers seasonally as well as adding new flower beds. The funds for these flowers are provided by The Majeed Foundation and we are so very grateful for their generosity and personal commitment to making our Waterfront Parks more beautiful.

The Waterfront Parks Foundation has committees to help us Preserve, Protect and Promote the park system. They include Lighting, Benches, Signage, Floral Projects, Land Use & Zoning, Swings, and Marketing. While the pandemic has limited physical meetings, the committees have worked remotely on issues to ensure our parks are a special experience for all to enjoy long into the future. I gratefully thank the participants on these committees for their dedication to our parks.

If you would like to serve on any of these committees email me at waterfrontparksfoundation@gmail.com.


Phil Graham, Jr., President
Waterfront Parks Foundation

The Fruits of Our Visionary Pioneers

Tampa Bay Times ArticlePerhaps nothing better reflects the vision and optimism of St. Petersburg’s founders than this 108-year-old newspaper article, which appeared in the St. Petersburg Times on December 14, 1912. According to historian and WPF member, Will Michaels, it was probably written by Times Editor, William L. Straub, who was part-owner and editor of the St. Petersburg Times from 1901 until his death in 1939.

The text of the original article, pictured here, has been transcribed for readers, below. Note that Mayor Abe Pheil also was the passenger on the World’s First Airline which flew from St. Pete to Tampa beginning New Year’s Day 1914. Pheil’s legacy is most well-known for this historic flight. But he also was a strong supporter of the Downtown Waterfront Parks.  (Pheil also was responsible for bringing manufactured gas to St. Petersburg in 1913 as a city-owned utility, giving home cooks a much-desired alternative to cooking over the fireplace!) 

Transcript of Article: 

Complete!

When, on December 12, 1912, the city council of the Pheil administration, by an [sic] unanimous vote on a formal resolution, officially approved the plan submitted by the Board of Trade for the public recreation buildings and park on the waterfront, the waterfront “dream” plan that first came to The Times and other waterfront boosters a decade ago became an actual fact, complete in all respects. 

A red letter date in St. Petersburg’s history, and the most important and memorable action of this administration, no matter what other praiseworthy work may mark the balance of its term.

In the beginning, when every foot of St. Petersburg’s waterfront was under private ownership, and apparently doomed to be lost to the public, as waterfronts were and are in almost all other waterside cities, and before it was feasible to even suggest all of it, the half-dozen original waterfront boosters in their first meeting agreed upon and have ever since unceasingly worked for this general plan:
First. All the waterfront to be owned by the city for the public’s use
Second. All commercialism to be confined to some one locality, and all the rest to be beautified.

Third. A separate harbor for pleasure boats.

Fourth. A recreation pier and park.

Slowly, one by one, a part at a time, these various features were brought forward, and pushed through. The last became a fact Thursday night, and the whole plan is now complete. The details of actual construction are to follow, but with the plans definitely secure the work is certain.

New Plants for the Holidays

The Majeed Foundation: Making the Waterfront Parks a More Beautiful Place for All

 
There are a number of supporters in our community who help our organization with their time, talent and treasure.  One life-long St. Petersburg resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, loves and enjoys our unique waterfront very much and has supported it quite generously over the years.  To this donor and all our terrific supporters, we say Thank You!  You make our waterfront parks a special destination in St Pete!

Over the past two years, one of the most ardent supporters of the work of the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) has come from the Majeed Foundation. The Majeed Foundation has played a major role in the enhancement of our waterfront park system. In addition to sponsoring WPF’s Annual Champaign Shuffle, the Majeed Foundation has funded the beautiful floral plantings that now grace Flora Wylie Park, Straub Park’s gateway at 4th Avenue NE and Beach Drive, and in locations near the tennis and volleyball courts in North Shore Park. What a beautiful and robust difference the lively, colorful flowers have made to our Waterfront Parks!

The latest floral plantings, which are updated at least twice per year, can be seen in these photos but you must take a trip downtown to experience the sheer delight of it for yourselves.  

The Majeed Foundation has also generously agreed to underwrite the creation of a prototype park swing, which will be installed along the Flora Wylie waterfront trail, for a most relaxing way to enjoy the glorious view of Tampa Bay. If the swing is as well-received as the WPF expects, the Majeed Foundation is interested in helping expand this project, so that more visitors will have an opportunity to take in the sights from the leisurely comfort of an old-fashioned swing. 

The members of the Waterfront Parks Foundation are most grateful for the support of this amazing foundation. The Majeed Foundation philosophy is best described on their website at www.majeedfoundation.org.

“Here at Majeed Foundation, we are driven by a single goal; to do our part in making the world a better place for all.  We strive to build productive relationships and make a positive impact with all of our pursuits.”

The world and our own waterfront parks are certainly a better place thanks to the vision and gracious generosity of the Majeed Foundation!

Meet Our Board Members—Robert L. Ulrich 

Dr. Peter BetzerFor WPF Board Member and former St Petersburg Mayor Bob Ulrich, his service to the Waterfront Parks Foundation is simply an extension of his lifelong history of service to our community. “Our Urban Waterfront was a focal point during our (the City’s) administration from 1987 to 1991 when we adopted three goals, the second of which was to: “preserve our waterfront and permeable open space.” At that time, Mayor Ulrich chaired all Council meetings. “The only time I relinquished the chair was to make a plea before my fellow councilmen and woman, to reject a permit for a building addition to a museum on our urban waterfront. Council passed the resolution anyway, and significant incursions to our former pristine waterfront continue.”

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Board of Directors

Officers

President—Phil Graham, Jr.
Vice President—Logan DeVicente
Secretary—Charles Osterholt
Treasurer—Tami Simms

Board Members
Peter Betzer
Robert J. Carter
Colleen Crutchfield
Bill Dahl
JP Fatseas
Doug Fisher
David Fischer
Harvey Ford
Philip Graham, IV
Dr. Patti Helton
Mack Hicks
Don Howe
Joan Jaicks
W. Richard (Dick) Johnston
Will Michaels
Sally Poynter
Ross Preville
Robert Ulrich
Therese P. Johnson - Executive Administrator
Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. Tax ID# 46-1298072.

CH#44997. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE (800-435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
Copyright © 2020 Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation, All rights reserved.


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