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Phase 1 of Historic Booker Creek Trail set for summer

Kai Warren, 56, leads a walking tour of Roser Park. Warren is one of the main initiators of the Historic Booker Creek Trail project. “It’ll be an interesting attraction for a lot of people,” he said.

KIRK BELL | Special to the Times

Kai Warren, 56, leads a walking tour of Roser Park. Warren is one of the main initiators of the Historic Booker Creek Trail project. “It’ll be an interesting attraction for a lot of people,” he said.

ST. PETERSBURG

As the Pinellas Trail winds through downtown, allowing bicyclists to explore the city, a new trail in Midtown will provide an educational and historical option.

There's a plan to build a trail that follows Booker Creek, a stream that flows from Booker Lake behind Edward White Hospital on Ninth Avenue N and ends at Bayboro Harbor near Fourth Street and 11th Avenue S, city officials said.

The proposed trail comes from the City Trails Master Plan for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"I think it will enhance the neighborhoods a lot because you have this opportunity to provide extra recreation and extra fitness," Cheryl Stacks, 34, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the city's Department of Transportation, said. "There really isn't another area in St. Petersburg like this area."

Plans for the Historic Booker Creek Trail are divided into three phases.

The first phase begins at First Avenue S near Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill and intersects with the Pinellas Trail. The path heads south along Tropicana Field, crosses Fourth Avenue S and attaches to the overpass on I-175. The trail goes through Campbell Park and heads toward Sixth Avenue S, where it will cross Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street.

Project planners hope to begin construction on Phase 1 this summer, Stacks said.

According to the plan, the trail will attach to the existing walking trail on Roser Park Drive, but because the road is so narrow, planners are considering a separate path for bicyclists, Stacks said.

Residents of Roser Park say the trail would be an asset.

For Debra Camfferman, 54, the trail provides a way to show off her neighborhood.

"We already have a lot of walkers and people driving through, so I think having a bike trail would be gorgeous," said Camfferman, a 13-year resident of the area.

Project planners do not know the total estimated cost of the trail because Phases 2 and 3 are still in conceptual stages, Stacks said.

In those phases, planners hope to include markers that highlight specific areas and neighborhoods, said Kai Warren, 56, a longtime resident of Roser Park and a main initiator of the project.

Phase 1 will include modern St. Petersburg history and information on the Tampa Bay Rays, Warren said.

In Campbell Park, the trail will feature markers about Negro Leagues baseball that was played at what is now Oliver Field. There are existing markers that tell of Roser Park's history. Planners hope to add markers about the Tocobaga Indians, a now-extinct tribe that was indigenous to the Tampa Bay area.

Warren said he hopes the trail will attract not only bicyclists and pedestrians, but also baseball fans, the African-American community and historians.

"It'll be an interesting attraction for a lot of people," he said.

The City Trails Master Plan was adopted by the City Council in 2003 to provide safer alternative routes for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The trails are funded through grants from the Federal Highway Administration and distributed through the Florida Department of Transportation.

Sybil Crocetti is a reporter for the Neighborhood News Bureau, a program of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at USF St. Petersburg.

Phase 1 of Historic Booker Creek Trail set for summer 05/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 2009 4:30am]
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