A little history about the Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

The Gisella Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg. Times file
The Gisella Kopsick Palm Arboretum in St. Petersburg.Times file
Published September 27 2013

Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

The 2-acre park, with more than 500 palms and cycads from around the world, was created with a financial gift from the late Gizella Kopsick, who was devoted to city beautification.

A miniature golf course once on the property had been closed because of rising maintenance costs. The late Elva M. Rouse, a park volunteer and "tree fairy," proposed a palm arboretum.

Starting out with 60 palms, it now includes drinking fountains, a gazebo, conversation corners with wooden benches and red brick paving. The arboretum was dedicated on May 16, 1977, Kopsick's 100th birthday. The park's benefactor was so frail, she was unable to attend the dedication, a Tampa Bay Times article said. Her initial gift for the project was $16,000, with continued development of the park assured by several large donations of stock, the article said. She died on July 4, 1980, at 103.

The arboretum was recently recognized by the Morton Register of Arboreta, an international registry of public gardens with a focus on woody plants. Supervised by the City Beautiful Commission, the park is on North Shore Drive at 11th Avenue NE. Waveney Ann Moore