Worldwide Wednesday: Leave Our Park the FCK Alone!

Not to take a position on this or anything, but according to legend, Lassing Park property was gifted to the city by our first mayor with the proviso that it remain undeveloped, a beachy oasis on Tampa Bay where the dolphins literally frolic with the humans walking out on the sand bars.  But now the city is trying to get a Lost Angels (sic) company to advise on how to “improve” our little treasure.

Lassing Park is a unique gem on Tampa Bay.
Lassing Park is a unique gem on Tampa Bay.

TBO Reports a new long-term plan to develop St. Petersburg’s signature waterfront may not include Lassing Park, a non-contiguous public area at the southernmost point of the waterfront plan area under consideration. The city is required to complete the master plan by July 2015, the result of a voter-approved referendum.

“Balking at the almost $500,000 price tag for a new downtown waterfront master plan, city council members Thursday explored ways to lower that cost before the city agrees to a contract with AECOM, a Los-Angeles (sic) consultant firm hired to conduct the study that will likely spell out future plans for city icons like Al Lang Stadium and Albert Whitted Airport. … The plan initially was intended to cover roughly 7 miles of almost contiguous publicly owned waterfront from Coffee Pot Bayou in the north to Lassing Park in the south. Shortening the scope of the plan would only save about $55,000, council members learned at a workshop Thursday.” said TBO. That is like ten percent by my calculations, decimating (look it up) the cost.

“Spending $55,000 to include them in a plan is pretty small when you consider the long-term effects,” Council Chairman Bill Dudley said. “Eventually, we will have to address that, and what will the cost be then?”  But I ask, why would we have to address it eventually when the city recently adopted a neighborhood study of our Old Southeast area that includes Lassing Park and plenty of input from residents there.   “If there is one thing that neighborhood is clear on it’s ‘leave my park the hell alone’,” insists council member Karl Nurse.

Tampa Bay nee St Petersburg Times was a bit more clear about the resident’s views. Bearing torches and pitchforks, quipped one OSE Board Member, they “quickly made their feelings known about the city’s waterfront plans. Their message to the city … move along, nothing to change here.”

“They like the easy access to the water at Lassing Park and the wide open spaces, where a game of Frisbee football was under way. They don’t want any big changes to the park’s quiet, neighborly feel. More amenities? Not really. ”

“They’re pretty much happy to say: Looks good to us,” says Nurse, who has lived in the Old Southeast for 24 years.

Neighbors have killed past proposals to build a playground, a paved path through the park and even oyster domes to prevent erosion.

“They’re happy to help the city save some money,” Nurse quipped.