The Downtown Waterfront Parks Newsletter is full of updates for friends of the Waterfront Parks Foundation. It includes information on special events that will be hosted at or by the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation, as well as our latest efforts taken to care for the parks.

Logan DeVicenteWe have officially made it to Autumn, although in our area, that is just a technicality. I must mention that we truly feel for those to our south who endured the onslaught of Hurricane Ian, and our thoughts and prayers go out to them. We are so grateful that our beautiful city was spared most of the damage. And now that our weather is nothing short of spectacular, I hope you will take advantage of these beautiful days to see how lucky we are to have such an asset. 

For those of you receiving this newsletter for the first time, we invite you to catch up on the wonderful projects initiated and/or supported by the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation to protect and improve our waterfront parklands. The new park swing prototype has received very positive feedback, and we continue to hear from the public with their thoughts. If you haven’t already, we invite you to provide your opinions through the QR code located at the actual swing or through our website

Speaking of our website, be sure to check out the drone videos we have posted there of our community enjoying the parks. They truly capture the unique character of our waterfront parks and remind us of what the park system provides to residents and visitors alike. 

Until next time, enjoy the parks, and share them with all of those around you. 

Logan DeVicente



Logan DeVicente

Founder’s Focus—Celebrating 10 Years

This year we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Waterfront Parks Foundation!

Phil Graham, Jr., Founder  Waterfront Parks FoundationIn 2012, the City of St. Petersburg’s budget for facilities and maintenance was suffering from a lack of funds due to the economic downturn of 2008. The downtown waterfront parks were caught up in this budget crunch, with limited resources for the Parks Department to maintain them in the condition these Legacy parks deserve. I met with the Parks and Recreation Director, Mike Jefferis, to discuss the establishment of a Parks Foundation that could assist the City in the preservation and enhancement of these historic parks. Mike was enthusiastic about the idea and offered his support for this endeavor. Thank you, Mike!

I then met with Joel Giles, a friend and highly-regarded attorney and a passionate civic leader, and asked him to assist us with the organization’s Incorporation, 501(c)(3) non-profit status and Bylaws. Joel and his firm, Carlton Fields, generously provided all of the necessary legal services on a pro-bono basis. Carlton Fields has continued to offer legal services to the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) for the last 10 years. Most recently, Joel, Ken Tinkler and Dakota McLean provided further legal services to the WPF, writing a new Park Ordinance template to be reviewed by the City to assist in their preservation. Thank you, Carlton Fields! 

Leaders in the community and stakeholders who have a passion for the preservation and appearance of the waterfront parks were then contacted to form a Board of Directors for the Waterfront Parks Foundation. Many of these initial Board members are still involved with the WPF. All of our Board members have contributed greatly to the success of our organization and we are so grateful for their time, immeasurable talent, and generous support over the years. I want to especially thank Charles Osterholt and Tami Simms for their dedication to building a successful Foundation consistent with our Mission and for sharing their management skills on the Executive Committee for the last ten years. Charlie, as our Secretary, provided his extensive management skills in keeping us informed and Mission Centered, and Tami, in her role as Treasurer, managed our finances with precision and skill. Thank you to all our past and present Board members, and thank you to Therese Johnson for her communication and administrative services for the Foundation.

We wouldn’t be able to show you the magnificent treasure we have in these parks without the incredible drone footage, photography, and website management provided by Frank Ranieri of Communicasting, Inc. Thanks to Frank and his company for helping us display what our beautiful parks have to offer. 

The Waterfront Parks Foundation has also enjoyed a mutually-beneficial relationship with the City’s Administration, City Council members, and the Parks and Recreation Department. We have worked closely with Bryan Eichler, the Assistant Parks Director, who has been an amazing help and resource in assisting the WPF with our project goals. I cannot say enough good things about our City’s Parks and Recreation Department and all its team members! 

And finally, we would never have been able to accomplish all that we have for the Waterfront Parks Foundation without the financial help of our Board Members and Donors. While I am not able to innumerate all of those, over the past ten years, who have donated time, talent and treasure to preserve and enhance our waterfront parks, I do want to acknowledge and thank the Majeed Foundation for their tremendous generosity and their passion for making our waterfront parks more beautiful and functional. The Majeed family has been a major donor for many of the projects that make our parks more colorful, and impactful; they have funded elements that greatly enhance our waterfront parks for the enjoyment and appreciation of all!

Finally, a BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU who have made the first 10 years of the Waterfront Parks Foundation so successful!  

Going forward, Logan DeVicente, our current President and the great-great-grandson of William L. Straub, will be leading us to future goals and accomplishments for the “Preservation, Protection, and Promotion” of our amazing St. Petersburg Downtown Waterfront Parks!

As ever, see you in the park!

Phil Graham, Jr., Founder
Waterfront Parks Foundation


The Waterfront Parks Foundation: Who We Are and Why We Exist 

North Shore Park

The Mission of the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) is to support and advocate for the preservation and enhancement of the historic waterfront parks of St. Petersburg, Florida, to ensure their future for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

Founded on October 31, 2012, WPF focuses on the waterfront parks in downtown St. Petersburg, which run along Tampa Bay from the north at Coffee Pot Park (1st Street and 30th Ave. NE) to Lassing Park (Beach Drive and 22nd Ave. SE), just south of downtown.

WPF also engages with and supports the work of other organizations that protect our precious outdoor assets, including—but not limited to—the City of St. Petersburg’s Parks Department, St. Petersburg City Council, Preserve the Burg, Tampa Bay Watch, Byrne Ocean Conservation/Water Warrior Alliance and the neighborhood associations in which our waterfront parks are located. 

A list of current Initiatives WPF explores in collaboration with the City can be found at 

We invite all who are interested in our waterfront parks to join our email list at , volunteer at our events, support the foundation’s work with your financial donations or by holding a fundraiser, and by spreading the word about all we are doing—and plan to do—to promote, preserve and protect our downtown waterfront parks. Your thoughts and ideas are always welcome!  

For more information, check out 


See You at the Swing!

Swing at Flora Wylie Park DedicationIf you’ve driven, biked, skated or walked along North Shore Drive or the adjacent waterfront trail from Coffee Pot Blvd. to Flora Wylie Park in the past six months, you’ve no doubt seen the most popular new attraction in the Waterfront Parks. 

The bench swing prototype, located at the north end of Flora Wylie Park at the intersection of North Shore Dr NE and Coffee Pot Blvd, was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in April. 

Swing at Flora Wylie ParkThe ribbon cutting ceremony featured 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, whose generosity funded the prototype, WPF President Logan DeVicente, and WPF Founder Phil Graham, Jr.

Be sure to stop by and enjoy the swing prototype, and while you’re there, let us know what you think via the QR code posted on the arm of the swing. The public’s response will directly affect future plans to install additional swings throughout the waterfront parks system! 


Lighting the Parks, Improving the Views

Uplighting at Flora Wylie ParkAn ongoing interest for the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) is helping the City Parks Department to develop better ways to light the parks without negatively affecting the skies. WPF board member and Lighting Committee Chairperson, Mack Hicks, has diligently been researching ways to light the trees to better reveal their beautiful sculptural qualities, while improving safety in some of the darker areas of the parks. 

Uplighting at Flora Wylie ParkPrototype lighting has now been installed at the north end of Flora Wylie Park which features the floral planting and the trees in that part of the park. The purpose is to highlight focal areas and provide uplighting of the beautiful tree canopies within the parks. 

WPF also is working with the city to install lighting of the primary identification signs for the 11 parks within the system.

As the lighting project progresses, watch for QR codes and let us know what you think of the progress!


Check Out the New Park Benches 

New Park Benches in St. Petersburg, FLOne issue WPF has worked to solve for the City Parks Department is the never-ending task and expense of cleaning the wooden park benches scattered throughout the parks. The natural wooden slats require constant cleaning/maintenance, but the wood never displays the clean appearance that this expensive effort deserves.

Last year, WFP Founder, Phil Graham, Jr. discovered a bench made of composite material, which could save the city thousands of dollars a month in cleaning/maintenance costs. This summer, the Parks Department installed several composite benches in North Straub Park along Bayshore Drive NE. If the benches meet the planned expectations, you can be sure we’ll enjoy more park benches that look as new and clean as these prototypes, and they won’t require the labor-intensive upkeep of the wooden benches. 


Meet WPF Board Member Bill Dahl

Bill DahlAlthough many—if not most—of the board members serving the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) have family histories in St. Petersburg that go back generations, one notable exception is WPF board member, Bill Dahl. In 2017, Bill and his wife, Joyce, chose St. Petersburg as their new home after their two kids were off pursuing their own successful careers and raising Bill and Joyce’s five grandkids. Bill credits frequent family Florida vacations, baseball spring training trips, and extensive business travel as the reason St. Petersburg was their choice. “We love St Pete!” says Bill. 

“We immediately fell in love with the charm of historic neighborhoods and were fortunate to find a 1946 bungalow in the Old Southeast (OSE) neighborhood that we’ve enjoyed updating and restoring.” It wasn’t long before Bill got involved in the OSE neighborhood board, which led him to support various initiatives across CONA, the City of St. Pete, Tampa Bay Watch, Preserve the Burg, Friends of Salt Creek, Water Warriors, and more. His wife, Joyce, reminds Bill that he spreads himself too thin … but he can’t help himself. If an organization supports a cause that Bill finds important, he’ll get involved.

Fortunately for the WPF, Bill believes the advocacy to protect our waterfront parks is also worth his time. “The Downtown Waterfront Master Plan caught my eye as a terrific blueprint for preserving our fabulous waterfront. Keeping the plan on track from deviations led me to City Council debates and meeting Phil Graham, Jr. Phil is such a staunch, articulate advocate for our waterfront parks legacy. I was extremely honored when he invited me to join the WPF Board; it boasts an incredible group of experienced, successful individuals who share a passion for our great waterfront legacy. Hopefully, I can further sustain that legacy and grow partnerships that protect our waterfront parks.”

Bill’s extensive career in marketing communications is now serving his volunteer interests in every good way. “Generous mentors guided my media, communications, and business leadership career journey starting as a young Marine Corps Combat Correspondent. I’ve been privileged to work with incredibly talented pros first with NBC and CBS TV affiliates in the Southwest and then working up the corporate communications career ladder, eventually running my own marketing communications agency in Andover, Massachusetts. My mentors instilled the responsibility to give back, so I’ve served on multiple not-for-profit boards and created internship programs for the last 25+ years. I love talent-spotting and helping new careers along.” 

Of the WPF’s work, Bill reflects: “Legacies aren’t etched in stone. St Pete’s waterfront parks are always under pressure. For instance, increasing, unsustainable event venues that damage the parks are currently a big challenge. Fortunately, City leaders like Mayor Ken Welch, Council Chair Gina Driscoll and Council Member Ed Montanari are excellent stewards and often seek WPF collaboration. I’ve also been privileged to work on several WPF subcommittees for Parks initiatives with Mike Jefferis and Bryan Eichler. These are working relationships that make a difference. It’s the reason why my WPF experience is so personally rewarding.”


Living Shoreline Restoration Makes Progress in Tampa Bay

Shoreline Restoration at Lassing ParkLassing Park’s shoreline is the epicenter of a multi-year Living Shoreline Restoration Project spearheaded by Tampa Bay Watch and the City of St Petersburg Parks Department.

On Earth Day, April 22, several WPF Board Members joined the Old Southeast Neighborhood, Tampa Bay Watch, the St. Pete Parks Department, and other interested volunteers to help shovel 10 tons of oyster shells, creating approximately 200 square feet of reef in Tampa Bay. We also added 97 additional oyster reef balls and planted 2,000 smooth cordgrass plugs.

This multi-year project is designed to mitigate severe erosion on the north end of Lassing Park due to wave and wake action. (Lassing Park is the only downtown waterfront park to enjoy a natural shoreline, i.e., no seawalls.) Positive effects are already apparent, as sand and vegetation begin to backfill the oyster balls and oyster shell reefs, which are reinforced by the rapidly growing cordgrass.

By restoring lost habitat to promote new oyster growth, the project ultimately improves water quality and provides rich food sources and habitat for many aquatic species.

Join us to help support this important effort! 


The next restoration phase will include the building of an oyster shell bar, which will take place November 9–10 and December 14–15, between 9:00 am and noon at the north end of Lassing Park. Interested volunteers may contact Rachel Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and get more information. WPF board members will be there, wearing our water shoes to help support this ongoing effort to restore our park’s vulnerable shorelines.


Mark Your Calendars 

Please plan to Attend these Upcoming Events:

Preserve the Burg’s Movies in the Park
Thursday, October 20, 6:00 –9:00 pm 
North Straub Park
Featured movie: The Goonies
Register online at


Tampa Bay Ocean Sweep Trash Collection Tournament
Saturday, October 22, 8:00 am–5:00 pm 
3734-3814 6th St S 
Register online at


Preserve the Burg’s Movies in the Park
Thursday, October 27, 6:00 –9:00 pm 
North Straub Park
Featured movie: Beetlejuice
Register online at


Friends of North Shore Park Cleanup
Saturday, November 5, 9:00 am–Noon
North end of Flora Wylie Park near the park swing.

Park Cleanup Volunteer Effort coordinated by Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association (HONNA), Keep Pinellas Beautiful and WPF. Volunteers can park in the lot at the south end of Flora Wylie and meet near the swing. All are welcome to join us! No registration necessary.


Coffee Pot Bayou Cleanup
Saturday, November 5, 9:00 am–Noon
This quarterly cleanup effort, sponsored by the Coffee Pot Bayou Watershed Alliance, uses boats, kayaks, canoes and walkers to clean the mangrove fringe on Coffee Pot Drive, the Masonic Home waterfront and the sidewalk/recreation trail from 34th Ave at Coffee Pot Park to the tennis courts in the North Shore Sports Complex. All are welcome. Cleaning tools provided. No registration necessary.



November Living Shoreline Restoration Oyster Shell Bar Construction
Wednesday–Thursday, November 9–10, 9:00 am–Noon
North end of Lassing Park
Interested volunteers may contact Rachel Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


December Living Shoreline Restoration Oyster Shell Bar Construction
Wednesday–Thursday, December 14–15, 9:00 am–Noon
North end of Lassing Park
Interested volunteers may contact Rachel Arndt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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