The Downtown Waterfront Parks Newsletter

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.

From Our President—October 2022

We 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. 

Founder’s Focus—Celebrating 10 Years

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

In 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

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