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Published Sep. 16, 2005

(ran East, South editions)

Childs Park

FOOTBALL FEVER is contagious this week. Tomorrow is registration for boys and girls ages 8-15 who want to be players or cheerleaders for the Junior Rattlers. Registration is from 6-8 p.m. at the neighborhood center, 4301 13th Ave. S. Fees for residents within association boundaries are $20; for others, $40. Boundaries run from First to 22nd avenues S, 34th to 49th streets.

Junior Rattlers is one of about 30 projects being funded by the Community Change For Youth Development initiative. The Childs Park community, Juvenile Welfare Board and Public/Private Ventures are partners in the initiative.

MURALS ON PINELLAS TRAIL: City, county and state governments frequently find themselves at odds on issues. That's not the case, however, when it comes to adding a proposed eight murals to the Pinellas Trail.

Karl Hollander, executive director for St. Petersburg Center of the Arts, is coordinating the project as part of the Community Change for Youth Development initiative. "What is most unique," he said, "is that state and city money is paying for young people to paint murals on privately owned buildings on a county-owned trail."

Two business owners have signed five-year leases with the city allowing the artwork. One site is Owens & Sons Marine at 3601 Eighth Ave. S, owned by William Owens. The other is a building owned by Fredrick Hohl at 701 37th St. S.

This week, 16 of the young artists will begin going door to door, visiting all homes and businesses within 200 feet of the sites. They'll display the proposed designs and explain the project.

The project has two goals: One is to stop graffiti in areas prone to it. The other is to encourage three groups of young people to work together. They are youths at risk, youths from the juvenile justice system and youths considered community role models. A common interest in art enticed them to volunteer. Local artists Alvin Lewis and Catherine Wilson are assisting.

"The graffiti people think of themselves as artists," Hollander said. "As kids create the murals, we hope other kids will respect that work." That seems to be the case so far, according to Sheri Weaver, community appearance representative in the sanitation department. To her knowledge, only one city mural has been vandalized and "that one had a green spot in two different little places," she said.

Weaver supervises the city's graffiti abatement program with a budget this year of $80,000. Since its inception in March 1994, she has responded to more than 5,000 incidents. The city has received $7,188 of the court-awarded $52,430 in restitution so far. To report graffiti, call 893-7394.

Getting the mural project going has been an arduous task. After a preliminary design review by Hollander, both the city planning department and art commission had to approve it. After the youth volunteers give public notice, Mike Dove, neighborhood director, will contact area neighborhood association leaders for approval. The police department must also approve it after examining the designs for gang connotations.

After being approved, workers from the sanitation department will pressure-clean the site walls and Richard Armstrong of XYMAX will seal them. Then the 16 youth artists can begin to paint.

North Central

CODES COMPLIANCE: Residents will have the opportunity Tuesday evening to question Julie Weston, new codes compliance manager. About 2,900 residents have been notified of the 7 p.m. event at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4444 Fifth Ave. N. Boundaries run from north of Central Avenue to south of 13th Avenue N between 34th and 49th streets.

Weston welcomes the opportunity to speak to groups and encourages residents to call her staff more frequently with code concerns. "Some maximize the communication with the investigators," she said. "Don't be afraid to ask."

Weston's department has 33 investigators and one building demolition coordinator. To find out who your investigator is or to anonymously report a code concern, call 893-7373.

Greater Woodlawn

POLITICAL AWARENESS: Mike Palozzi, neighborhood association vice president, is promoting a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church, 2612 12th St. N, when candidates for the vacant House District 52 seat and several judgeships will introduce themselves.

Also on the agenda is a discussion of the association's Great Neighborhood Partnership Grant application. The group hopes to add a sprinkler system to the Blanc Park. Lights and landscaping were recently added to the park with money received through last year's grant program.

Palozzi invites residents to stroll through the park one evening and enjoy the soft glow of the acorn-shaped lights. It's on 28th Avenue N at 11th Street."They give a very classical look," he explained. "What you would have expected in the 1930s."

Fossil Park/Meadowlawn

The city-sponsored After Dark Club for high school teens has moved to Meadowlawn Middle School, 5900 16th St. N. Its former home, Willis S. Johns Neighborhood Center in Fossil Park, is scheduled for major renovations. Joe Memmo, teen program coordinator, is hoping to make it a permanent move for the club.

The dance club has been open every Saturday night since it began this past spring but is attracting only 60-80 teens. Having full use of the gymnasium and cafeteria at Meadowlawn is expensive. After Dark is open from 8:30-11:30 p.m. and admission is $3.

The Rotary Club of St. Petersburg donated money "to make up the difference of what's not coming in at the door," Memmo said. Rotary representative Rick Wallace presented the city with a $3,500 donation for the summer program.

Memmo worries about the future, however. "Ideally we'd like to see over 100," he said. "They enjoy dancing, but there has to be a big crowd to socialize." For information, call the teen line at 892-5060 or drop by the club Saturday night.

Historic Kenwood & Ponce de Leon

FRESH IDEA: Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association has an interesting addition in its July newsletter. It's a review of two restaurants in the neighborhood. Residents are asked to submit monthly reviews.

They also feature an advertisement for the "Kenwood Boutique." Hot items are an oval plaque with your house number for $15 and T-shirts with the Historic Kenwood logo for $10. Orders can be placed at each monthly meeting.

Ponce de Leon Neighborhood Association is including a school monthly calendar in its newsletters. Rosemary Grasso, president, said residents will be made aware of who should and should not be in school on any day. It also will give parents notice they may need a baby sitter for an approaching in-service day. She added, "I don't always get things from my kids."