Meeting Minutes 5/16/23

Opening:  Niel Allen, LPENA president, convened a general meeting of the Lake Pasadena Estates Neighborhood Association (LPENA) at 6:30 p.m. on May 16, 2023, at Menorah Life. Approximately 35 neighbors were in attendance. Niel thanked attendees for their participation in protest of the city’s proposed rezoning that will allow greater density, affecting traffic, parking, and environmental issues, in our neighborhood. He explained that while the city-approved zoning changes currently affect only two blocks of our neighborhood (along 1st Ave N), potential buyers can request a variance to permit other multi-family dwellings.

Minutes: Minutes from the last general meeting, held February 2, 2023, are posted on the website (shortcut: Ctrl+click

Treasurer’s Report: Alex Ellis, LPENA treasurer, reported a treasury balance of $3,051.26, of which $1,500 is reserved for repair of the Pasadena Avenue cul-de-sac from donation specified for that purpose. He is continuing efforts to link the Achieva Credit Union account to a Venmo account to facilitate digital payment of dues. Annual payment of dues in 2023 ($25 per household) have been sparse, and all are encouraged to join our association so we have funds to conduct events (e.g., Harvest Fest, payment for SunBiz (Florida’s non-profit annual fee), and to maintain our website).

Old Business:

  • Historical Designations: Niel provided the results of his research into the potential for Lake Pasadena Estates (LPE), which is more than a century old, to be designated as a recognized historical district. Either local or national recognition as an historical site would provide publicity and incentive for the preservation of our unique features, both natural (two lakes, old trees) and human-generated (brick streets, century-old homes). Prior discussions suggested 2024 as a good year to celebrate our history, perhaps with a Century Celebration. These discussions will continue, hopefully supplemented by neighbors’ input.
  • Social Media: Niel thanked the efforts of directors Stacy Vermette and Liz Marcucci for their continuing maintenance of LPENA social media sites (Facebook, Twitter). Residents can keep track of activities and upcoming events via these sites.
  • Lake Disston Fountain: The LPENA Board of Directors (BOD) recommended at its May 9 meeting that the association apply for a city-matching grant for installation of a floating (but anchored) fountain in Lake Disston, which would not only increase water aeration, to reduce algae buildup, but also enhance the beauty of the lake. Initial cost estimate for the fountain, with LED lighting and a timer, is approximately $5,000. If awarded, the city would pay the cost of the fountain, and the neighborhood’s “matching” portion would be provided by neighbors’ hours worked (credited @ $26/hr) improving city-owned property in the neighborhood or cash donations. The neighborhood would also be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the fountain. Niel stated that a donation drive would be conducted if we win the grant to set aside funds for this ongoing responsibility. City employee Brittany Jones (727-892-5141 or, who was present at the meeting, verified the current availability of grant funding in the city’s budget for this effort, although projects proposed by other neighborhood associations could vie for the budgeted funding (take-away: don’t dawdle!). On a motion by Carol Gruszka, seconded by Kent Carroll, the association voted unanimously to pursue a city-matching grant to install a fountain, with features as described above, in Lake Disston, pending installation by Duke Energy of power to the lake sufficient for its operation.
  • Lakes: Niel read a letter from Mike Perry, St. Petersburg Stormwater Environmental Services Manager, regarding the city’s ongoing efforts to reduce algae buildup in our lakes (click here to read letter). Two “bubblers” have been installed on the west side of Lake Pasadena, where power availability is already sufficient to operate the aerators, and city efforts are ongoing with Duke Energy to provide sufficient power on the east side of the “big lake.” Duke has also inspected Lake Disston, the “little lake,” relative to installing power for aeration of that lake, also. Currently, water levels of both lakes are too low to permit operation of any aeration device.
  • Historical Research: Director Cheri Riley provided updates of her following historical research efforts:
    • Cheri contracted Jesse Breckenridge, St. Petersburg Historical Museum historian, to conduct initial “deep-dive” research (construction, owners, other notable facts) on one of the 14 century-old homes in LPE. (Note: Cheri donated the cost of this research at her own expense.) She then outlined the following plan for continuing the research into the history of our neighborhood:
      • Phase 1: Identify and document all LPE homes built in the 1920s.
      • Phase 2: Fill in information about the structure and previous residents of these 1920s homes. provides a wealth of such information.
      • Phase 3: Research driving forces (sales literature, transportation changes) for houses constructed from the late 1940s through the 1950s.
      • Phase 4: Add stories of residents, wildlife (alligators, otters), curved sidewalks, personalities, and other history of the area.
    • Cheri also introduced the idea of conducting a Tree Inventory in LPE. Neighborhood volunteers will be needed. The Urban Forestry Committee, subcommittee of the St. Petersburg Beautification Committee, meets at City Hall on the second Monday of each month, regarding cataloging (and protecting) some of the city's older trees (e.g., banyan, oak, laurel). The city offers a "tree matching grant" of up to $10,000 to neighborhood associations for the purpose of preserving and cataloging such trees. To view currently mapped trees, click here. (To read more about getting started on this effort, click here.)
    • St. Petersburg was established as a “city of neighborhoods,” each one with a unique character and history.” We should value our position as one of the most historical.

New Business: None.

Neighbor Concerns/Suggestions:

  • Director Ide Gagalis reminded residents that any fountain in Lake Disston should also ensure a nighly period of “dark time” so that wildlife (and residents) can have restful sleep. Gay Inskeep also noted that we should have an expert look at the LED colors to be used for lighting because studies have shown that some colors are more harmful to wildlife than others.
  • Although a couple of the sandstone monuments obtained with prior city-matched grants are still in good shape, others are suffering from neglect and are now covered with dirt and mold. Keeping these clean and in good shape remains the responsibility of the neighborhood association. Designated clean-up times should be scheduled so that current residents can participate in maintaining the loveliness of our neighborhood.
  • New meeting announcement signs must be purchased since the fifteen purchased a year ago have largely disappeared.
  • The Pasadena cul-de-sac fence installed in 2019 needs repair from 2022 wind damage, but persistent efforts to elicit a response from Smith Fence, installer of the fence, have failed. We will keep trying but will also seek repair estimates from other fence companies.
  • Residents were reminded to thank Menorah Life for use of their facility for our neighborhood meetings. This is greatly appreciated.

Upon a motion by Kent Carroll and seconded by Liz Marcucci, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m. Following adjournment, dues ($25 annually per household) were collected from a few neighbors. Other neighbors are encouraged to mail or give their annual dues (cash or check made out to LPENA) to Alex Ellis, treasurer, 5924 Dartmouth Ave N, or Carol Gruszka, secretary, 6531 Pasadena Ave N (both in St. Petersburg, FL 33710).

Respectfully submitted,
Carol Gruszka, LPENA secretary