The beautiful Roser Park Historic District in St. Petersburg is excellent for walking and may soon add more multi-mobility improvements as the city moves forward with plans to enhance the neighborhood. Lucas Cruse, the City of St. Petersburg’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, led a walking tour of Roser Park to kick off Bike/Walk Tampa Bay’s 2016 Summer Summit. Cruse welcomed the tour attendees and taught them a little about the first historic district in St. Petersburg throughout the group walk.
Attendees read signs about the park’s history as they toured the neighborhood. Magnificent 1920’s homes featuring a variety of architectural designs are built into the hillside that lines Booker Creek. The walking path and sidewalks along the creek and nearby streets provided views of the homes from both sides; they appear to be only one story from their front street entrances, but are as many as three stories high and quite a sight when looking up from the trail below.
Cruse shared details of the ongoing planning and design process to add a bicycle trail that would run beside the creek along with other future improvements that honor the neighborhood’s past as he led the group of Bay Area bike/walk enthusiasts through the tour. The new trail would complete a key segment of the City’s bicycle network with a trail connection between the City’s bayfront and USFSP to the Pinellas Trail and Edge District beyond Tropicana Field. The City is pursuing an innovative concrete boardwalk construction method to minimize environmental impacts and add a context sensitive element to the next chapter to the story of this historic district. “It’s always exciting to introduce this landscape and gem of a neighborhood to residents and visitors. The trail would improve the safety and accessibility of exploring Booker Creek by bicycle, opening up the district to the recognition it deserves,” said Cruse. The next step in the process is for the design to be reviewed in fall 2016 for a Certificate of Appropriateness under the historic district regulations.
Temple Terrace resident and Tampa General Hospital Wellness Professional Meghan Lane visited St. Petersburg to attend the tour and the summit. “There is truly something special about experiencing our communities by foot or bicycle,” Lane said. “I am a relentless advocate of physical activity as a way to minimize or reverse the impact of chronic disease. And what better way to get some much needed physical activity than by exploring our neighborhoods!”