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.
Champaign Shuffle: Our annual event, the “Champaign Shuffle” at the Historic St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was a tremendous success with 179 in attendance and over 200 tickets sold. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time just “shuffling “or competing for prizes. Good food and drink; friends met and friends made. We are grateful to all who supported this event and especially to our major sponsors: Republic Bank, JMC Communities, Hampton Inn, and the Vinoy Renaissance Resort. This will become an annual event for us and hope you will shuffle on down with us next year.
New Website: Our website, www.waterfrontparksfoundation.org , has just been completely reworked by Communicasting, Inc. with a panoramic videos and interesting photos of our amazing downtown waterfront park system. The website also includes information on our organization, its purpose and activities and showcases each of the downtown waterfront parks, its location and its unique characteristics, as well as, information on upcoming activities and news items. We invite you to take a look at our site and hope you enjoy what you see.
Land Use and Zoning Codes: We have received a generous matching grant from an anonymous donor and a pro bono commitment from a local law firm to assist us in our effort to have the City adopt cohesive language in the land use and zoning codes regarding our Downtown Waterfront Parks. We will be working with the City’s Legal and Planning Departments to better clarify the land use categories and zoning regulations regarding the use of the Downtown Waterfront Parks. There are currently four different Land Use categories in the Comprehensive Plan as they relate to the Downtown Waterfront Parks. There are also four different zoning categories, some of which allow for inappropriate development within our Downtown Waterfront Parks. We will be working to provide better protections for the preservation of our amazing Waterfront Park and will do so as a complement to the City’s ongoing 2050 visioning process. We have retained the law firm of Carlton Fields for this mission and will be reporting all progress to you in the coming months.
Park Use: Our city is becoming more dense each day as buildings rise and more people discover our wonderful city. All this popularity has added pressures on our waterfront park land. Our Downtown Waterfront Parks have become a place to “exhale” for all of our citizens, away from the bustle of city life. More and more people are discovering the pastoral views of Tampa Bay, shaded walks and venues for a plethora of events for all ages. Our park’s founders could only imagine how popular and important their contribution to our community would become. With your help, we can preserve the precious open views to the Bay and provide appropriate amenities throughout our parks for all our citizens to enjoy.
Pier Report: The New Pier and Pier Approach vertical construction is well underway and will be going at a rapid pace until its completion in the Spring of 2020. Continued construction updates and images can be found at www.newstpetpier.com.
See you in the park!
Phil Graham, Jr., President
Waterfront Parks Foundation
Nearly 200 Waterfront Parks supporters turned out on April 7, 2019 for the 2019 Champagne Shuffle, held at the historic St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club. Adult guests were treated to a sample of champagne and all enjoyed drinks and appetizers offered by Orange Blossom Catering and Maggie’s on the Move food truck.
The event was co-chaired by WPF Board Members Don Howe and Charlie Osterholt. “We so appreciated the amazing turnout—thanks to all the supporters who joined us for a gorgeous afternoon,” Charlie remarked.
“The complimentary glass of champagne was a real hit with the crowd,” Don responded. “Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.”
Opportunity drawings and a “Push for the Parks” competition provided chances to win magnums of champagne and a family membership to the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, and most of the crowd participated in main event: a round-robin shuffleboard tournament, which provided many guests with their first experience at the game. By day’s end, several guests had purchased memberships to the Shuffleboard Club, so it was a win-win all around. Many also took the opportunity to contribute to the $15,000 matching campaign to benefit the Waterfront Parks Foundation, which successfully ended on April 30.
Be sure to mark your calendars for the 2020 Champagne Shuffle on April 5, 2020. We look forward to seeing you there!
As you head south along Coffee Pot Boulevard and round the curve along the waterfront onto North Shore Drive, the first park you experience which is under the protection of WPF is Flora Wylie Park, which extends from 18th Avenue NE (also known to locals as Vista Point) to 13 Avenue NE. The Centennial Sundial, designed by nationally-known St. Petersburg sculptor Eric Higgs, waits to be discovered at Vista Point on the north end of the park, and was commissioned as part of the St. Petersburg centennial celebration in 2010. (From the 1930s to the 1970s, the same location had been the site of previous sundials.) A wide recreation trail continues from Coffeepot Boulevard along the waterfront, where joggers, bikers and skaters traverse. Open grassy areas invite impromptu soccer games, flag football, yoga and kite flying, and picnic tables and waterfront benches are often populated with visitors enjoying the vistas of Tampa Bay.
The park’s namesake, Flora Wylie, was the first woman to serve on St. Petersburg’s Planning Board in 1928 and was a founding member of the St. Petersburg Garden Club. She remained a huge proponent of the city parklands until her death in 1965. Click here to see more pictures and a video.
(Thanks to the following sources for information related to this story: James Martin, Northeast Journal, http://northeastjournal.org/a-gem-in-our-midst/#comment-15001 and North American Sundial Society, http://www.sundials.org)
For Waterfront Parks Foundation Board Member Joan Jaicks, volunteering for a cause in which she believes is as natural as breathing. Joan was attending a St. Petersburg Women’s Chamber of Commerce meeting back in the 1990s when she heard WPF founder Phil Graham speak on the need for support and beautification of the parks, and she instantly appreciated the importance of preserving the parks. She did whatever she could for the city to help with beautification. Then in 2013, she saw an article in the Tampa Bay Times in which Phil announced the creation of the Downtown Waterfront Parks Foundation. Joan gave her old friend, Phil, a call and offered her support. She has served on the board since its inception.
Joan moved to St. Petersburg as a child and other than her time at Florida State University, she has lived here ever since. Throughout her life, she’s never lived more than a few blocks from Tampa Bay. After college, Joan met her late husband, Don, while working in retail at the former Maas Brothers Department Store. She took time off work to raise their two children, and then returned to work for the Pinellas County Tax Collector where she spent the bulk of her career. She then took a part-time position as Information Specialist for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce where she spent 20 years on “the front lines,” dealing with the public at the Chamber’s main office and at the St. Petersburg Pier. She officially retired from “paid work” in 2010.
But she certainly didn’t stop working to improve her beloved city. In addition to her involvement with WPF, Joan has contributed countless volunteer hours as an active member of many local service organizations, including the St. Petersburg Woman’s Club, the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Florida Orchestra Guild. She has also volunteered for many years at St. Anthony’s Hospital and she assists annually at the City of St. Petersburg Green Thumb Festival. “If I can do something to help people or keep this city as beautiful as it is, why not?” says Joan. Of her work for the Waterfront Parks Foundation, Joan says, “I think we have the most beautiful waterfront in the country, and I think more people should take advantage of it.”
Her commitment to service has not gone unnoticed. In the mid-2000s, Joan was appointed to the City Beautiful Commission, a group that works for the City of St. Petersburg to enhance and safeguard the beauty of our natural resources and city landscape. She served on the Commission for six years. In 2007, she was inducted into the St. Petersburg Senior Hall of Fame and she also was awarded the Keys to the City. in 2010, Joan was chosen as the 2010 Queen of Hearts. In 2015, Joan was given the Elva Rouse City Beautification Award. In 2017, the St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation presented Joan with the Helen D. Roberts Philanthropy Award.
When describing the past year’s work with the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Joan remarks, “I’m so proud that the Women’s Chamber chose the Waterfront Parks Foundation was one of the recipients of our annual fundraiser, which then helped contribute to the recent WPF Matching Funds Campaign.”
Certainly, this board is proud to have Joan Jaicks serve as a board member of the Waterfront Parks Foundation.
In our commitment to support the downtown waterfront parks of St. Petersburg, the Waterfront Parks Foundation (WPF) is now able to take you directly to our beautiful parks when you visit our redesigned website at waterfrontparksfoundation.org. As you enjoy the sweeping views of our incredible park system, we believe you will more fully appreciate the need for the maintenance and preservation efforts of the WPF.
The WPF has engaged St. Petersburg advertising agency, Communicasting, Inc., to update the Foundation’s branding, and create and manage our website. Frank Ranieri, Communicasting President/Creative Director and FAA Certified Drone Pilot, captures the majesty of the parks in breathtaking fashion with aerial footage taken from many different angles. The new home page video magnificently captures the unique beauty and expanse of St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront parks.
“Communicasting is a perfect fit for WPF,” commented WPF President Phil Graham, Jr. “Frank Ranieri grew up here, is passionate about the parks, and committed to protecting and building on their historic legacy and the city’s unique marine environment.” [Grab your reader’s attention with a great quote from the document or use this space to emphasize a key point. To place this text box anywhere on the page, just drag it.]
Frank is as enthusiastic as the WPF Board about the new project. (“As a third generation St. Petersburg native, I grew up going to these parks. I have seen them change and evolve over the years, all the while teaming with people enjoying them. I’m honored to have the chance to showcase their beauty, function and value through videos and photos.”)
Each of the waterfront parks is now featured on the website with current photos of people using and enjoying them. Visitors to the website can easily explore the features of each individual park, see photographs and videos, and get information on past WPF events, sign up for upcoming events, subscribe to our mailing list, see our newsletters and best of all, SUPPORT THE WATERFRONT PARKS!
The WPF logo has also been updated and the new tagline that succinctly states the WPF Mission: “Preserve | Protect | Promote”.
When the new website was unveiled, Phil Graham, Jr., remarked, “I’m really pleased that our new branding more comprehensively presents the value of the Waterfront Parks Foundation to the St. Petersburg community and to the long-term maintenance and preservation of our downtown waterfront parks.”
We hope you’ll enjoy you visiting our parks—online and in person!