- Published: Monday, 11 November 2019 09:16
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On Thursday night September 26th at the Woman’s Club SIPOA sponsored what I literally will call a “watershed” event. Perhaps that word is a little tongue-in-cheek, but the truth is the theme of the event was all about water issues affecting Snell Isle. From the upgrades and renovation of the Lift Station in the Parkway, to flooding and water pooling issues at various locations on the Isle, to increased costs for water/reclaimed water usage and storm water drainage cost increases that are based upon the square footage of impervious structures on resident properties, to flood insurance increases, one may have felt a bit overwhelmed, and underwater, with the vast quantity of information presented to us in a short two hour time period.
In an effort to summarize the most salient points covered, all should be pleased to know that the pump station upgrades will be completed months in advance of the original projected date. If all continues to go as well as it has, the work will be done by year end, which is fantastic news.
With respect to the costs for reclaimed water usage, the increases are not significant on a percentage basis, so no one should become too alarmed. As to the issue of drainage/runoff on a property by property basis, there is a formula based on the square footage of impervious structures as relates to the entire square footage of the property in question, so that the more of such structures, whether your home, driveway, pavers and patios, the more you will be charged. Again, the percentage increases are not significant enough that we should all be up in arms and worry too much about it. Of course, every dollar counts and while I don’t want to make light of any increased costs for anything in general, these won’t break the bank. The City explained that, with these increases, Saint Petersburg is more in line with our neighbors in surrounding cities. For further information on the rate changes, please go to this link StPete.org/ratechanges.
Moving now to the well-known problems of flooding and drainage after storms and high tides, we were informed that the City of St. Petersburg is taking the issue seriously, pipes in some areas are being enlarged while in other areas pipes are being cleaned and leaks are being repaired. Unfortunately, this is a slow and at times difficult process, but it is moving forward. In fact, residents were advised that if they notice an issue in any particular location, the City should be contacted so that specific areas may be addressed. Of course, all must keep in mind that while things can be done to mitigate the effects of too much water, living on an island as we do where summer rainfall can at times be daunting, especially when coupled with high tides, we will all have to continue to live with some flooding in certain areas.
A project is being looked at to consider dredging canals surrounding the Vinoy Golf Course that will enable further drainage of high water, but this potential project has many moving parts and teams. You will hear more about this in the near future.
Ed Montanari, our City Council Representative and Snell Isle resident, spoke briefly to our crowd and answered several questions. He is up for re-election in November.
Last, but not least, Officer Don Herring of SPPD spoke briefly on safety and security issues and reminded us that while crime on Snell Isle is at a low rate, it still exists and we need to be vigilant, lock our cars and homes, keep outdoor lights on at night, and if you see something suspicious please contact SPPD.
Our speakers who came to speak and provided information and who we would like to thank for their input, were as follows: 1) Brejesh Prayman, Engineering & Capital Improvements Director, City of St Pete 2) Carlos Frey, Design Manager, Stormwater and Environmental Engineering and Capital Improvements, City of St Pete 3) Aaron Carmella, City Liason for Utility bill updates 4) Officer Don Herring of SPPD 5) Jake Holehouse, HH Insurance, experts in Flood Insurance and designated by the City as Flood Insurance policyholder advocates (Kayla Roberts & Christian Kaelber were there to answer questions, too) 6) Ed Montanari
By: Howard K. Pollack, Communications Chair
As you know, yesterday’s mid-day deluge of rain coincided with our high tide and caused serious flooding issues throughout Snell Isle. We got somewhere in the range of 4” in one hour and, by any standard, that is hard for any drainage system to keep up. I spoke with a City Engineer today to inquire specifically about the Snell Isle Blvd & Appian intersection. I wanted clarification to understand IF the Appian area fed into the huge drainage improvement project the City undertook 2 years ago at Rafael / Brightwaters / Maron. It does not. As a matter of information, that completed project functions well, per the engineer.
The Appian Way / Snell Isle Blvd area is a different story…it in no way connects to the Rafael / Brightwaters new storm drains. The excess water from the Appian area processes through a drainage basin to a canal / creek near the Vinoy Golf Course. Yesterday that canal was overflowing with water - due to previous rains and the ground being soaked - causing no place for the rain that fell to drain. The City placed DETOUR signs so traffic avoided the “river-like” roadway at that intersection. The City intends to place a pump this week near this intersection to be used for situations like we experienced yesterday. It will remain in place until our rainy season is over. This is not the final solution. A feasibility study is underway determining the scope of work for a longer-term solution which we will hear more about in the future.
I encourage you to become familiar with potential rate changes to your St Pete Utility Bill. These changes have the potential to change the base amount you pay in your monthly invoice. Prior to St Pete considering making this change, all residential properties were considered “equal”and billed the same base amount. If the new rate tiering is approved, it will be based on the square footage of impervious surface area (surfaces that water runs off), so that a property’s fee more accurately reflects its impact to our stormwater system.
I hope you will click on the link below and, if you have questions, please call the number shown below. The City is making available these telephone resources to answer any and all questions you may have.~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
ST PETERSBURG UTILITY RATE CHANGES IN THE WORKS
St. Petersburg City Council will consider increases to water, wastewater, reclaimed water, stormwater and sanitation utility rates and charges. Meetings will be held at the Sunshine Center at 330 5th St. N.
First Reading is Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 3 p.m.
Public Hearing Thursday, September 19, 2019 at 6 p.m. The proposed rate adjustments will be published at the First Reading and made available at stpete.org/rates. If approved, any changes would take effect October 1, 2019.
City Council will be considering Stormwater tiered rate changes for adoption on October 1, 2019. Find more information and view your property’s impervious surface area measurement in the Stormwater Review and Appeals Portal at stpete.org/ratechanges
Questions? Call 727-893-7280.
Please take advantage of these opportunities to review and understand the impact on your utility bill prior to any changes.
July 18th we rescued a pelican from Snell Harbor off of Cordova Blvd. The bird was in poor condition: entangled in fishing line, compound wing fracture, and bones were exposed. Our SPCA colleague made us aware that in all likelihood the bird would be euthanized as they could not heal this severe injury. If you catch a bird, do not cut your line and turn it loose, you doom the animal if you do this. FWC recommended procedure to take care of a hooked pelican (or other bird):
Put on glasses/sunglasses to protect your eyes. Reel the bird in slowly to reduce the risk of added injury. Or use a net to carefully lift the bird from the water. Fold the bird’s wings against its body and hold the beak firmly. Allow the beak to be open slightly to allow it to breathe. Cover its head and eyes with a towel or shirt to calm it. Clip the barb and back the hook out. If the bird is severely injured, has swallowed a hook, or you are unable to deal with the problem, call a bird rescuer, such as Helping Hands Animal Rescue: 727.365.4592.
When fishing, avoid casting into projecting mangrove branches, there is high probability the line will become entangled and pose a trap to birds. If you see line in mangroves and other structures please remove it. The Brown Pelican is the Iconic symbol of Saint Petersburg, let’s all do our part to be good stewards and care of birds that need help.
Thank you Walt Jaap, Coffeepot Bayou Watershed Alliance
In a further effort to engage our community and all the residents of Snell Isle, the SIPOA Board of Directors has organized a BUSINESS SHOWCASE on May 14th at 6:00 PM at the Women’s Club on Snell Isle Blvd. There will be free delicious food catered by Harvey’s 4th Street Grill and beverages available for everyone, along with speakers and vendors of various goods and services who will provide information and literature about their respective companies. This will be an informal gathering intended to benefit Snell Isle and the members of the Association. We are asking that everyone show up promptly by 6:00 PM as we have a full agenda is planned.
Flock Camera Systems (Neighborhood wireless security system consultants) will be our featured speaker for the evening and will do a slide show presentation followed by Q&A. Putting tag-reader cameras at all entrances and exits to Snell Isle is an option we will be discussing in open forum. Additionally, we anticipate having the following vendors on site for folks to review their services and ask questions; they too will have an opportunity to speak in front of the membership…
1) Dynamic Outdoor Spaces
2) Happy Healthy Roots – Nutritional
3) Premier Paver Restoration
4) Canterbury School
5) North Shore Elementary School
6) Budget Blinds
7) Dr. Stuart Pollack – Chiropractor
8) Bayview Wealth Group
9) NE Animal Hospital
10) Lightning Funding - Mortgages
We look forward to an entertaining and informative event and invite all our residents to join us for what will surely be an enjoyable evening where we can socialize, eat, drink and engage with local businesses from our community. It’s an event you surely don’t want to miss!
As Snell Isle developed over the years it has progressed from its early beginnings and the vision Perry Snell had for it almost a century ago. Of the unique features that comprise the Isle there are fourteen different pocket parks that can be found at various locations. Many of you probably have never even heard the phrase “pocket park” or even know what it means. I know I didn’t until very recently, so I took it upon myself to visit them and learn what I could about them in an effort to educate myself. However, even with on line research tools, I was unable to find much written about them, though I did find some pictures of the more well know ones, including Snell Isle Parkway on Snell Isle Blvd. across from the golf course. Many are much smaller and may go unnoticed if you don’t look for them, but one in particular should come to mind, and that is the one located on the right side of Snell Isle Blvd. as you cross over the bridge from Coffee Pot Blvd.; that is the Cherub water spout which has recently undergone a wonderful transformation. All should take notice that the fountain has been repaired and the landscaping has been totally refurbished. Many thanks to the SIPOA Board who have all contributed their own funds allocated for beautification as part of our yearly dues. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the locations of the rest of these mini parks:
These 6 larger Snell Isle parks have benches for the enjoyment of all residents:
Snell Isle Entrance Fountain Snell Isle Parkway Brightwaters Park Coffee Pot Riviera Park, known as Pete’s Park Monterey Point Pocket Park Maple & 34th Ave NE Traffic Circle These smaller “green spaces” you might have passed by and hardly noticed... Coffee Pot Riviera & Monterey Blvd small traffic island Traffic Circle at Monterey Blvd & Almedo Way Snell Isle Estates Bridge area Brightwaters Circle Bridge area Entrance to Snell Harbor Drive Brick triangle area at Giralda & Brightwaters Snell Harbor Drive green space by the panther Coffee Pot Riviera Entrance Walls
Snell Isle Entrance Fountain
Snell Isle Parkway
Coffee Pot Riviera Park, known as Pete’s Park
Monterey Point Pocket Park
Maple & 34th Ave NE Traffic Circle
These smaller “green spaces” you might have passed by and hardly noticed...
Coffee Pot Riviera & Monterey Blvd small traffic island
Traffic Circle at Monterey Blvd & Almedo Way
Snell Isle Estates Bridge area
Brightwaters Circle Bridge area
Entrance to Snell Harbor Drive
Brick triangle area at Giralda & Brightwaters
Snell Harbor Drive green space by the panther
Coffee Pot Riviera Entrance Walls
Now, although I was unable to find much to go on regarding specific historical accounts of the pocket parks, I did find a wonderful little piece written by Perry Snell back in 1926, after viewing magnificent scenes in various parts of the world. He came home to write as follows:
“It is the memory of these beautiful scenes that encourages one to lend some romantic touch to our local scene. At Snell Isle, I am endeavoring to lend a foreign note to match the warmth and balm of our sunshine. I see a vision of loveliness at this gateway to St. Petersburg. Domes and towers will hold sway on this fair Isle, and the colors of the Orient established an outpost in our Sunshine City. I may even approach the vistas of Paris, the domes of the Orient, the color of Italy and the charm of Spain. In the layout of the Avenues, Parks and Villas; something to suggest unimagined splendors and unwanted joys, the green lawns that satisfied, the curve of the new façade, the glint of fountains, the classic glimpse of statuary, the mysticism of the picturesque Riviera, the romantic view of lagoons and canals with the subtle witchery of the old world Venetian buildings, all minister to my fancies and lead me upward to achievement. I see these things accomplished at Snell Isle, the Pearl of Pinellas, the brilliancy and gayety of Florida at its best, warmed by the golden sunshine, surrounded by laughing waters amid flowers in bloom and waiving palms. Other scenes to me will not have greater charm.”
Apparently, Perry Snell was not only a visionary developer, but also a true romantic as well as a great poet. And through these words of his, I began to understand. In the early homes he built on Snell Isle he incorporated beauty from around the world and brought it to his little slice of heaven. The pocket parks were another part of that vision. Places one could come to for a chance to sit and contemplate the beauty and uniqueness of the surroundings and to just appreciate the moment. The oft used Latin phrase Carpe Diem, (seize the day) or better yet, Carpe Momentum (seize the moment) comes to mind and is perhaps apropos. Snell would have appreciated a foreign phrase to help define his quest for serenity and bliss among the surroundings of his creation.
So, for all of you who have never heard of a pocket park, or have simply driven by one of these little cutouts that populate our locale, please take a stroll, a moment, perhaps a deep breath and sit by one for a while as you become a part of, and appreciate, a wonderful piece of our history.