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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

St. Pete council member calls for native landscaping at City Hall



ST. PETERSBURG-- The city's many acres of grass are costing taxpayers a lot of green, city council member Karl Nurse said today.

His solution: Replace lawns and grassy medians with native shrubbery and encourage more residents to do the same, Nurse said in his first news conference since he was appointed to the City Council in April.

He's targeting lawns that aren't used for recreational activities, including the grass surrounding City Hall, which he said could be replaced with pine, flowers or other native plants that do not need to be regularly watered or maintained. As Florida struggles through a drought, water conservation will continue to be a pressing topic, Nurse said.

"We are going to end up growing what already grows here," Nurse said.

Nurse also called for changes to the city's landscaping code to promote Florida friendly lawns, including limitations on turf and areas with traditional irrigation systems.

Nurse will pitch his landscaping plan at a City Council meeting Dec. 4. If the council agrees to move forward, city staff would be directed to find out how much the lawn conversion would cost and how much it would save, Nurse said.

City Council Chairman Jamie Bennett, the only council member to attend the press conference other than Nurse, said he supported the effort.

-- Cristina Silva, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:41am]


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