The St. Petersburg Downtown Waterfront Parks are one of the most important physical assets of our community—clearly the Jewels of our Downtown vista. Some say they are the primary driver of St. Petersburg’s Downtown economy, reflective of our City’s lifestyle, and an important reason that people love St. Pete.
When people remark about our City’s Downtown, it is the setting of our waterfront parks on Tampa Bay that they recall. Yes, the museums, hotels, restaurants, shopping and friendly people are all wonderful assets, but they are fruits of this idyllic location. Great memories are experienced and enlivened in the setting of the waterfront parks environment.
For many in our community the Downtown Waterfront Parks Centennial Celebration ignited a rediscovery of the value and historical importance of our waterfront parks. We are truly blessed by the wisdom of our early town fathers who preserved and protected this Emerald Necklace on the Bay for all posterity.
Unfortunately, in recent years, we have seen the Downtown Waterfront Parks decline in their majesty. The scheduled maintenance program of planting trees and seasonal flowers, dead shrub replacement, and care of grassed areas has fallen by the wayside leaving these parks in sad shape. Not because of City Management deficiencies, or lack of desire on the part of the Administration to keep them in top condition, but simply because there is no longer enough money in the City budget to maintain them at the level we enjoyed in past decades.
The budget for upkeep of ALL parks throughout the city has dropped from $907,105.00 in 2000 to $290,702.00 in 2011.
The residents of St. Petersburg have been given a family heirloom, a precious gem in the form of our Waterfront Parks, to cherish and maintain. These parks are losing their luster for lack of funds. Our Downtown Waterfront Parks need an advocate for their ongoing care and maintenance in order to look and function at their highest potential for all of our residents and visitors. This is why the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation was formed.