Park Swing at Flora Wylie ParkAll are invited to join City of Saint Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department and the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new waterfront parks bench swing prototype on Wednesday, April 20th, 2022 at 10:00 am in Flora Wylie Park, located at the intersection Coffee Pot Blvd. and Northshore Dr. NE.   

Prototype Swing

This prototype swing was funded through the generosity of the Majeed Family (MajeedFoundation.org). WPF has installed embedded QR Codes on the swing, which we invite you to use to provide your input on this new way to enjoy the waterfront. If public response is as positive as we anticipate, we plan to install additional bench swings in our downtown waterfront parks.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The ribbon cutting ceremony will feature City Council Chair and District 6 Councilmember Gina Driscoll, City Leisure Services Administrator Mike Jefferis, Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation, Bryan Eichler, The Majeed Family, WPF President Logan DeVicente, and WPF Founder Phil Graham, Jr.

The bench swing concept and design was created by WPF’s Founder, Phil Graham, Jr. It was engineered by Bill Reidy of Advanced Engineering & Design, Inc. Fabrication was executed by Bill Mallett’s team at Architectural Concepts.

Generous Donation

The Majeed Foundation has formed an ongoing partnership with WPF and City Parks to provide St. Petersburg with numerous bright focal points that highlight our waterfront park system including their ongoing funding of several floral displays and their maintenance, one of which is partially visible in these photos.

“We are delighted to support this wonderful initiative to enhance the waterfront parks' unique experience,” states Kamel Majeed. “It fits with the Majeed Foundation's commitment of enriching the parks natural beauty and adding new features for the enjoyment of all.”

We hope to see you on Wednesday, April 20th, but regardless, be sure to check out that latest way to relax along the waterfront, and please use the QR code to share your thoughts! 

 

Living Shoreline Construction at Lassing Park

Amazing work continues at the southernmost park under WPF’s protection, Lassing Park, where Tampa Bay Watch, in partnership with the City of St. Petersburg, works to stabilize one of the last remaining undeveloped shorelines in St. Petersburg with the Living Shoreline Project. 

The project kicked off in December 2021 when volunteers installed 250 oyster reef balls. These reef balls work to help stabilize approximately 700 feet of shoreline which was suffering from serious erosion. 

According to Tampa Bay Watch, “Creation of a living shoreline project, including oyster reef balls, oyster shell reefs, and coastal wetland plans will prevent further erosion of Lassing Park, restore lost habitat systems to the bay, and improve water quality through natural biological filtration.”

Installation of a living shoreline at Lassing Park Volunteer Opportunity

Another volunteer opportunity will take place on Earth Day: Friday, April 22 beginning at 9:00 am. Bill Dahl, WPF Board Member and with Old Southeast Neighborhood Association board, reports that 68 volunteers were already signed up as of April 12th to install oyster reef balls, oyster bags, and begin sea grass planting. Bill says that there’s something for everyone to do. All are welcome to come out, get your feet wet and help restore this city treasure. WPF will have a table at the event. Be sure to stop by the WPF table and say hello! 

 

Logan DeVicente addressing City CouncilOn April 7, 2022, WPF gave a presentation at the St. Petersburg City Council meeting on the most recent ways the Foundation has assisted the City in preserving, protecting and promoting the St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront parks. President Logan DeVicente gave the presentation, with numerous members of the Board in attendance. 

The presentation gave an overview of what Logan described as “our city’s greatest asset,” and noted that the city’s waterfront park system, under the protection of WPF—from Lassing Park at 22nd Avenue South to Coffee Pot Park at 30th Avenue North along Tampa Bay’s shoreline—is known to be the third largest contiguous park system in North America. 

Current Initiatives WPF explores in collaboration with the City include:

  • Advocacy for the parks
  • Park Signage Master Plan, which includes creating an updated and consistent style and color scheme for all signs and wayfaring notices in the parks
  • Removal, relocation or screening of utility blight, including unsightly electrical and water structures in the parks
  • Park and fundraising events
  • Cleanup and enhancement projects:
    • The creation of a system to remove floating seaweed and trash from an area near North Shore Aquatics Center 
    • Ongoing waterfront cleanup and planting projects
    • Environmental projects including the Living Shoreline currently being installed at Lassing Park
    • Floral plantings throughout the parks which are updated on a regular basis
  • Participation in community events:
    • WPF’s sponsorship of Preserve the ‘Burg’s semi-annual Movies in the Park, Thursday evenings in May and October in North Straub Park
    • WPF’s participation in the upcoming Preserve the ‘Burg Expo on Saturday, May 21, 10:00 am–3:00 pm at the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club—public is invited 
  • Land use and zoning modifications to enhance and protect the parks:
    • The cleanup of conflicting and overlapping designations and permitted uses 
    • The development of a Waterfront Parks Ordinance for long-term preservation, which WPF has presented to City Staff
  • Park furnishings projects:
    • A new park bench design made from composite material which significantly upgrades the look of the park benches while reducing the need for expensive, ongoing cleanup
    • The design, production and installation of a prototype bench swing
    • Assistance to the City in the design of environmentally sound night lighting for visual enhancement and improved safety throughout the waterfront parks 
  • Infrastructure support for park events to protect and maintain the beauty of all the waterfront parks throughout the year 
  • Seawall replacement

Comments by City Council members reflected on the need to understand the difference between active and passive parks, and the importance of spreading some of the most popular annual events to parks throughout the city. 

Members of WPF deeply appreciate the ongoing support of the City Council on our work with the City Staff and the Council’s participation in our events. Regularly scheduled updates with City Council are in the works. 

If you'd like to help the Waterfront Park Foundation’s efforts to preserve, protect and promote our beautiful waterfront parks, please consider donating or volunteering!

Click here to learn how you can SUPPORT WATERFRONT PARKS FOUNDAITON

 

WPF Board Member Tami SimmsOne of the founding members of the Waterfront Parks Foundation, Tami Simms is a woman whose name is known throughout St. Petersburg for her many civic contributions. 

Municipal, non-profit and professional organizations have benefited from over two decades of Tami’s non-profit board experience. In addition to WPF, where she serves on the Executive Board as Treasurer, Tami currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Saturday Morning Market as President; she is a Board Member and Immediate Past President of the St. Petersburg Downtown Business Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Business & Professional Women/Florida (BPW/FL), also having served as Past State President. In addition, she serves as President of the Education Foundation of BPW/FL, as Parliamentarian for the BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas, and she’s also on the Eckerd College 2022 Reunion Committee. 

Tami’s engagement in the City of St. Petersburg began in her early 20s. In 1992, she was part of the reopening management team for the then-shuttered Vinoy Hotel. Over the years, she has volunteered for the City on numerous occasions through board and task force service, including the Waterfront Master Plan Task Force and she recently served on the 2021 Charter Review Commission. 

Since 1986

A resident of St. Petersburg since 1986, Tami is a graduate of St. Petersburg High School and Eckerd College. Currently, she resides in the Magnolia Heights neighborhood and works as a residential REALTOR® with Coastal Properties Group / Christie’s International Real Estate, where she teams with her mother, Sharon Simms. Tami is also the Lead Trainer and Community Manager for The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing based in Dallas, TX, and is a frequent industry speaker nationwide.

As a WPF Executive Board Member and Treasurer since its inception in 2012, Tami remembers the early days fondly: “When the idea of creating the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation was presented in 2012, I was honored to be invited to participate in the Formation Committee, and to become a member of the inaugural Board of Directors. I was glad to bring a skill set specific to governance and non-profit board structure in creating such an important organization to protect one of our community’s greatest treasures.”

As you can see, WPF is fortunate to have Tami lending her expertise to our Executive Board!

Charlie Osterholt Retirement

WPF Celebrates One of Our Own

After the April WPF board meeting adjourned, board members remained to propose a toast to founding Executive Board Member Charlie Osterholt, who recently retired from his career after 30 years as a Wealth Management Adviser with Merrill Lynch. Charlie was presented some fun gag gifts and an extra- special framed tribute illustrated by WPF Founder Phil Graham, Jr. who is known for creating caricatures for friends on special occasions. 

We congratulate Charlie on his retirement from his career, and we are delighted that he will remain active as Secretary on the WPF Executive Board. 

 

The Catalyst  June 2, 2021 - St. Pete's emphasis on maintaining and preserving parklands and related recreational activities has landed it the top spot in a state ranking. The The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit with a mission to "create parks and protect land for people," ranked St. Petersburg No. 1 in Florida and No. 14 nationally in this year's ParkScore index. The 2021 ParkScore index evaluates 100 of the largest U.S. cities using mapping technology and demographic date to determine how well each city is meeting the needs for parks. Each city was scored in five categories: access, acreage, amenities, equity and investment, according to the index. St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Parks and Recreation Department earned a 78 out of 100 in investment and 78 out of 100 in equity. According to the ParkScore index, "75% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park" in St. Petersburg.

See Catalyst Article

Swing at Flora Wylie ParkOne of the goals of the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation is to make our beautiful parks in St. Petersburg, FL more enjoyable and comfortable. With funding provided by the Majeed Foundation, we have created this swing for visitors to relax in and enjoy the waterfront views from the north end of Flora Wylie Park.  Once you've had a chance to give the prototype swing a try, please share your thoughts so we can make the next swing even better.

THE SWING…

On a recent visit to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort, South Carolina, I was quite impressed with swings that I saw placed in the park along the waterfront. The design of the swing was clean and simple, yet substantial and durable. The swings were occupied with people of varying ages and I was told they are well-used by both residents and visitors. It occurred to me that we don’t have any swings in our waterfront parks and I thought that we might want to develop something similar here in St. Petersburg. Members of the Waterfront Parks Foundation discussed the potential with the City Parks Department and we all felt that swings would be a desirable amenity for our waterfront park system. We decided that one should be installed to see if people enjoyed it. 

I designed the unique swing for the Waterfront Parks Foundation as a prototype to be used along our waterfront at specific locations.  We are grateful for the generosity of the Majeed Foundation for funding the fabrication and construction of this project at no cost to the City. We are also thankful for the donation of structural engineering and construction plan services from Bill Reidy, P.E. of Advanced Engineering & Design Inc. Benjamin Mallet of Classical Architectural was engaged to fabricate and install the swing. 

We anticipate that the new swing will be a hit! If so, we hope to install additional swings along the waterfront in select locations. We believe the swings will become another opportunity for our community and visitors to relax and enjoy our beautiful waterfront parks on Tampa Bay.

Phil Graham, Jr.
Founder
Waterfront Parks Foundation

 

Feedback Welcome

Once you have had the chance to use the swing, please consider sharing your feedback at https://waterfrontparksfoundation.org/about/survey

North Straub Park Flower Bed PlantingThere 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!

A new project to plant annuals is ‘like adding jewels to the necklace,’ an advocate says.

By Waveney Ann Moore  |  Published Apr. 19, 2020  |  Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times Article: St. Petersburg foundation aims to adorn downtown waterfront parks

ST. PETERSBURG — The city’s miles of downtown waterfront parks are about to be augmented with a 26-acre, $92 million Pier District. But landscape architect Phil Graham Jr. is most pleased with the rows of red and white begonias and yellow shrub daisies beginning to take root at two focal points along St. Petersburg’s cherished downtown waterfront. “The idea behind this was to get a large enough area that had some visual interest and some impact,” said Graham, president of the Waterfront Parks Foundation, the organization of prominent residents responsible for the recent plantings.

The foundation was created in 2013, after budget cuts caused by the Great Recession left little for showy extras in the parks that owe their origin to residents such as St. Petersburg Times editor William Straub and developer C. Perry Snell. Their dogged efforts to protect the waterfront from encroaching commercial development led to the dedication of the first park in 1910.

Read the Entire Article on TampaBay.com

St Petersburg has "curb appeal." The City's 23 acres of Waterfront Parks that line Bay is what attracts attention.

By Jon Reynolds, Neighbor | Apr 3, 2019 11:21 pm ET | Updated Apr 4, 2019 5:33 pm ET

Waterfront Parks Protection As Critical To Downtown St Petersburg.

St Petersburg has "curb appeal." Realtors love to show properties with "curb appeal" The City's 23 acres of Waterfront Parks that line Bay is what attracts attention. "The View and the Bay are what makes the Day." The Parks are in reality the front yard of the City.

This beautiful green asset is in constant threat of encroachment by developers. Those wanting to invade the Parks with every conceivable and wonderous project, are continually bombarding city fathers with reasons to build on the dedicated land.

Read the Article on Patch.com

A new project to plant annuals is ‘like adding jewels to the necklace,’ an advocate says.

By Waveney Ann Moore  |  Published Oct. 1, 2013  |  Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times Article: Parks foundation inches closer to waterfront blooms

ST. PETERSBURG — Almost two years ago, the man who designed a landscape to complement the Dalí Museum's uncommon architecture sought the blessing of a City Council committee to bring dazzle to downtown waterfront parks.

What Phil Graham Jr. proposed was a foundation whose funds would augment a dwindling parks budget that could no longer can afford such luxuries as frequent planting of showy annuals.

Money from the recently formed Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation — already in receipt of inaugural donations — will benefit much of the parkland stretching from Flora Wylie Park at North Shore Drive at 13th Avenue NE to Poynter Park at 1000 Third St. S.

Read the Entire Article on TampaBay.com

A new project to plant annuals is ‘like adding jewels to the necklace,’ an advocate says.

By Waveney Ann Moore  |  Published May 1, 2012  |  Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times Article: Pioneer descendant forming foundation to help maintain St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront parks  

ST. PETERSBURG — The city's downtown waterfront parks are a gem. Actually, says Phil Graham Jr. with conviction, they're St. Petersburg's most important asset.

The descendant of one of the city's earliest settlers and landscape architect of the new Dalí Museum has come up with an idea to burnish the parklands in the city's downtown that edge Tampa Bay.

His proposal, to create a Downtown Waterfront Park Foundation that would provide supplemental funding for maintenance and improvements for the city's "cherished jewel," was presented a few months ago to the City Council's public services and infrastructure committee.

Read the Entire Article on TampaBay.com

Signup for the Downtown Waterfront Parks Newsletter