Keeping Our Members, Friends and Neighbors in the Loop...
MAXIMO PARK EXPANSION
At our January 22 General Membership Meeting, Leisure Services Administrator Mr. Mike Jefferis and Natural & Cultural Areas Manager Ms. Barbara Stalbird gave a detailed presentation on the proposed expansion of Maximo Park. The expansion is made possible by a 25-year lease of land to the northwest of the existing park, near I-275S. The land is the property of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and was used as a materials staging area. The land will be cultivated to expand parking for recreational vehicles, using permeable materials to facilitate drainage and allow for easier repurposing of the space in the future. Improvements will also include the installation of solar lighting, planting native vegetation and removal of invasive species, fencing, enhancing the disc golf course, and protection of the historic Indian Mounds within the park.
BANYAN TREE REMOVAL AT PRINCESS MOUND
Also at our January 22 General Membership Meeting, Mr. Jefferis and Ms. Stalbird presented the city's plan and rationale for removing the banyan trees at the Princess Indian Mound at Bethel and Pinellas Point Drive located within the historic 'Pink Streets' community. With several opposing residents of the Pink Streets in attendance, in addition to opposing residents from the greater community, the City team presented compelling evidence that the banyan trees, which are NOT a protected variety, are causing irreparable damage to the Mound due to their 'walking root systems' that are causing gradual but consistent soil erosion, thereby threating the sustainability of the Mound.
The tree canopies have proven problematic in resolving the erosion because they also block sunlight, thereby inhibiting the growth of ground cover that has already been tried without success. The solution, a matter of City authority and does NOT require citizen/association approval, is to remove the trees completely, plant native vegetation and trees that are more compatible for the sustenance of the highly regarded and historic Princess Mound for generations to come.
Signage will be posted in the community to alert residents when the work commences in the next few months. In addition to the tree removal, the City is also working to create a 'virtual experience' for visitors to the Mounds throughout Saint Petersburg. Using virtual reality technology, visitors will be able to transport themselves back to various stages in time during the evolution of the Mounds... the GPPCA plans to schedule a guest speaker to attend a forthcoming general meeting to give further insight into this exciting project that will be a value add to our great neighborhood!