Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Greater Pinellas Point neighborhood considers getting smaller, more neighborly

ST. PETERSBURG — Sometime in May, a large number of those who live at Pinellas County's southern tip could be booted from their neighborhood association.

Whether they'll care is another matter.

That perceived indifference is the reason the Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association has decided to drastically downsize the far-flung neighborhood.

The news was announced in a recent newsletter.

"After careful consideration, the board has decided that it cannot do an effective job for the entire spread-out neighborhood … and must reduce the area's size,'' said an article accompanied by a map of the redrawn boundaries.

Only 250 of the neighborhood's nearly 20,000 residents belong to the association. In May, members will be asked to approve the boundary change.

The proposal, said association president Judy Hunt at a sparsely attended meeting, is about "taking on the bite that we can chew.''

The new bite-sized neighborhood would exclude scores of apartment dwellers along 54th Avenue S in the geographic lancing that begins several blocks south. Gone would be a couple of fading shopping centers, Lakewood High School and nearby Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, where the association now meets. Also to fall outside the new neighborhood are the homes of City Council member Steve Kornell and seven-year Greater Pinellas Point board member Jodi Davis.

"It really hurts. ... It's divisive,'' said Davis, who was emotional as she spoke at the March meeting.

The mother of four small children, who said she has missed recent meetings because of her schedule, blamed the moribund association on its leaders' reluctance to embrace technology and address issues important to young families.

Susana Creft, who has rarely gone to the meetings, made a point to attend after reading about the proposed change. She lives on the wrong side of 66th Avenue S, which makes up much of the new northern boundary, Creft said.

"It's not that people don't care; it's just that people are very consumed with their time. I'm a single mom, and I'm working hard. By the time I get home, I'm dead,'' she said.

"I feel like I'm going to be left out of what is a great organization, in a great area.''

Barbara Hawkins helped to start the association in 1973 and served as its president. She too opposes the new boundaries and is working with Davis and a few others to keep the neighborhood unified.

"I don't think that cutting down the size of the neighborhood is going to bring forward more leaders or enable them to deal with more issues,'' she said.

"What this is really designed to do is to make our neighborhood association relevant,'' said Hunt, who described its current area as "an amorphous blob."

"I have great sympathy for those who are upset,'' she said. "It's easy for people who don't participate to say, you should do a better job. I think one of the reasons we don't have enough participation is that we're not as defined as we should be.''

Gerry Lembke, the association's treasurer, agrees. "There's no sense of identity. ... If you have a neighborhood that large, you don't know who your neighbors are.''

Those who attended the March meeting heard of the area's problems, including rising crime, foreclosures, empty houses and troubled apartment complexes. The group is running out of money. A major expense is the newsletter, which is mailed to about 3,500 owner-occupied homes.

Membership continues to decline and for a year, there was no president. Hunt, recruited for the position about a year ago, said she has tried to build interest.

The last straw was last year's Christmas party. The association bought presents for more than 200 children, sent postcard reminders to neighborhood homes, delivered invitations to area schools and preschools and hired a song-and-dance troupe.

Organizers need not have worried about what to do when the presents ran out. Fewer than 50 people showed up, among them about 15 children.

Association leaders hope the new boundaries will create a more intimate community. There is talk of installing block captains and of holding garage sales, picnics, charitable events and even card parties in front of neighbors' homes.

The scaled-down area will be bounded by Tampa Bay on the south and take in the more than 4 miles of the pink concrete streets off Pinellas Point Drive, along with Bay Vista and Forrest Bluff parks, Westminster Suncoast retirement community and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church.

Hunt doesn't promise overnight change.

"In five to eight years, you're going to see a real difference in this neighborhood," she said.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

Boy George, coming to Tampa with Culture Club, talks fame, Pulse and the term ‘LGBTQ’

It’ll still be June when Boy George arrives in Florida this week to kick off a summer U.S. tour with Culture Club. But the LGBTQ icon says it won’t feel quite like a Pride parade."I also bake cakes for straight people," he laughed. "That’s going to b...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

Florida eliminates Texas Tech at College World Series, faces Arkansas for title-round spot

OMAHA, Neb. — JJ Schwarz hit a two-run homer and Florida built enough cushion to survive Texas Tech's six-run outburst over the seventh and eighth innings to eliminate the Red Raiders from the College World Series with a 9-6 win Thursday night....
Updated: 5 hours ago
The Daystarter: Catch up on the Jameis Winston fallout; The NBA’s Knicks draft Kevin Knox II; and St. Pete Pride comes back together in 2018

The Daystarter: Catch up on the Jameis Winston fallout; The NBA’s Knicks draft Kevin Knox II; and St. Pete Pride comes back together in 2018

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Get ready for a wet morning as the forecast calls for scattered showers and storms to start the day. There could even be thundershowers and lightning out there, according to 10Weather...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original home in t...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

Carlton: Could anything be more partisan than going nonpartisan?

So Hillsborough County commissioners — most of them, anyway — want voters to consider dropping political parties from certain elections, making those races nonpartisan instead.This would mean when you go to vote in those elections, you won’t know if ...
Published: 06/22/18
Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

Missed time a good mental reset for Rays’ Matt Duffy

ST. PETERSBURG — Missing all of 2017 might have been the absolute worst thing for Matt Duffy.Frustratingly idled as he eventually recovered and rehabbed from ongoing left heel issues, he couldn't play the game he loved, couldn't show the Rays o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

Kevin Knox to Knicks makes NBA history locally

More than a year ago, Kevin Knox stepped across the stage at the Straz Center to receive his high school diploma.On Thursday, the former Tampa Catholic star was on basketball's biggest stage as he fulfilled his lifelong goal of making the NBA.Knox wa...
Updated: 5 hours ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 6 hours ago