Historic neighborhood divided over proposed trail

St. Petersburg, Florida -- St. Pete City officials are re-examining their plan for a 2.5 million dollar trail project through the historic Roser Park neighborhood.

The project, first introduced in 2003, would "link up" a continuous city trail that is already built and loop off of the Pinellas County Trail. The trail starts near Tropicana Field at Sixth Avenue South and Dr. MLK Street South and then goes through Roser Park, ending at 11th Avenue South and Third Street South.

However there is some push back and now a petition is circulating with 57 people signing on to stop the project.

"It will bring more people to the neighborhood," said former Historic Roser Park Neighborhood President Larry Biddle. He adds that not everyone wants to follow that path though, "Things seemed like they were going to happen then there were some hysterical folks and some people for the first time heard about it. They did create a petition, knocked on doors, got a lot of people to sign and say we don't want this trail.

2003 document shows original plans for the St. Pete City Trail

Some here are concerned a trail would attract lots of strangers and threaten their safety, but Biddle believes the opposite is true. He thinks more people in the neighborhood would make it safer, "Should people have concern? Indeed, they should, we did, some people don't want to believe it's safer but at least the numbers show it."

Even supporters of the new trail hope the sidewalk won't change too much. Robert Riddle says, "Everyone kind of hates it has to be so wide." Biddle says, "It is true some of the trees, on an area that will expand 14 feet, we will loose about 90 trees. But they will be replaced."

City officials say they're looking over the petition and will have another plan drafted mid June.


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