PALMA CEIA — As part of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio's pledge to become a certified "green city" by 2010, the city unveiled its first of 21 fire station properties where it plans to create xeriscapes with plants and mulch that require little or no irrigation.
"The old days of lush, green lawns and landscaping that takes a ton of water … those days are on the decline," Iorio said at Fire Station 14 on Church Avenue and Nepune Street on Wednesday morning. "We're not only saving money and saving water, we're also making the city more
Fire stations were chosen, Iorio said, because they are community focal points that might set an example to home and business owners looking to meet what is becoming known as "Florida-friendly design standards."
Station 14 is one of the city's more visible fire stations and is now surrounded by plants native to Florida — African iris, European fan palm, peanut grass — that will thrive during both rainy seasons and droughts.
Tampa hopes to complete the fire station projects through public-private partnerships, at little or no cost to the city, said Thom Snelling, Tampa's deputy director of growth management and development services who recently also took on responsibilities as the city's green officer.
All of the plants, mulch and supplies used at Station 14 were donated by local nurseries, organic lawn care services and other businesses whose names were listed on a plaque in the station's lawn.