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PROUD HOMEOWNERS // Pinellas Point

Lots of people know about the "Pink Streets" _ a neighborhood of spacious homes in Pinellas Point, where the winding, shaded streets are tinted pink. Many know New York Yankees pitcher Dwight Gooden lives in Pinellas Point, and his nephew, Florida Marlins outfielder Gary Sheffield, plans to build there. The neighborhood is at the southernmost tip of the county with a view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

But there's more than that to the Greater Pinellas Point neighborhood, which stretches east of 34th Street and south of 54th Avenue S to the water. That's what residents will be showing off Sunday in the Parade of Neighborhoods. Real estate agents will hold open houses at at least a dozen homes for sale, and an apartment complex and retirement community are also on the tour. No private homes are open.

"A few old homes were built in the '20s, but most were developed from the late '50s through '65 or '70," said Jim Bierly, president of the Greater Pinellas Point Civic Association. In the last six months, sale prices have ranged from $34,500 to $600,000, with an average of $91,515, said Jessie Dudinsky, a real estate agent with Century 21 Premiere Associates.

"It's about as close as you can get to peace and quiet in this world," said Maybell Washington, 40, who lives in a neat masonry block home on a tree-lined street where only the sound of birds and the purr of a lawn mower broke the silence on a recent Saturday morning.

Washington, a clerk with GTE, has lived in the neighborhood two years with her children, Sha-Na Carter, 17, and Eddie Adams, 11. She likes being able to walk to the nearby Lake Vista Community Center.

She likes the friendliness of the neighborhood: "Everyone helps each other. If I don't have a tool I need, they're willing to lend it."

Last Halloween, she recalled, "it was like a block party! Everyone hit the streets at the same time, just as the sun went down. I never experienced Halloween that way!"

And although she may not know the name of every neighbor on the street, "if anything is different or wrong, you know. We pay attention. You know that if someone doesn't put out their garbage at the right time, something's wrong. I've been over, knocked on a door myself, "Just making sure you're okay.' Everyone seems to look out for everyone."

Jerry and Laurie Buchert lived in three other St. Petersburg neighborhoods while their children were growing up: the Old Northeast, Snell Isle and Woodlawn. When their children left the nest about a year ago and it was time to downsize, Pinellas Point was the perfect compromise between Jerry's desire to live on the water _ he was leaning toward Pass-a-Grille _ and Laurie's desire for a neighborhood with big trees like those back home in Ohio.

They like the neighborhood's racial and age diversity, its kids-and-dogs atmosphere, its waterfront areas and bird life.

A special place: an Indian mound near her home. Said Laurie: "I feel the spirits there are blessing us."

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