Annual Cleanup and Chat Celebrates Two Cities

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speaks while Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson, seated to the left wearing a ball cap, listens. “This event is about Gulfport and St. Petersburg taking dual responsibility for taking care of this corridor,” said Henderson. “It’s a good gesture of people coming together and recognizing that this is something that both cities take ownership of, treat with respect and pride.”

The 4th annual 49th Street Mayors’ Cleanup on Saturday, October 7 was held in and near the Tangerine Greenway park in Gulfport. The festivities included the 3rd annual police Chiefs’ Chat Community Forum.

Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent and St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Luke Williams all participated in the cleanup effort and spoke to a crowd of about 60 people.

Gulfport Councilmember Yolanda Roman attended the opening ceremonies and participated in one of four teams of litter picking volunteers while Gulfport Councilmember Christine Brown worked in the cleanup segment along with attending the presentations by the mayors and police chiefs.

The official boundary line between the two municipalities is 49th Street South but the purpose of the event is “One Street, Two Cities, One Goal – Collaboration,” according to a press release. “The cleanup is about more than picking up litter. It is a celebration about community and the collaboration of neighborhoods along 49th Street South.”

The four teams cleaned the street and its adjacent alleys from the Pinellas Trail south to Gulfport Boulevard South.

The event is organized by the cities of Gulfport and St. Petersburg along with the Gulfport Neighbors non-profit group.

Pictured from left are front row: Ceveghntez Guyden and Jeremiah Daniels; back row: Mare Shah Paul, Travis Jeancharles and Isaiah McGirt all of St. Petersburg. The group was participating to earn community service volunteer hours for their Boley Centers youth program, said Daniels.

From left, Gulfport Police Chief Robert Vincent and St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Luke Williams get ready to volunteer on litter clean-up teams. “Our goal is to make sure the communities recognize there really are no jurisdictional lines” even though there are formal boundaries between Gulfport and St. Petersburg, said Williams. “We’re all one community. Any problem in Gulfport is a problem that is in St. Petersburg and vice versa.” Communication between the two police departments “has always been stellar,” he said.

From left, Gulfport Neighbors’ board member Wolfgang Deininger and Blueberry Patch board members Bob Feckner and Aleisha Prather, show off one of the more unusual finds of the cleanup morning – a chrome vehicle bumper. “We support art, music and literature throughout the community with events each month,” said Feckner of the Blueberry Patch. The bumper will be “recycled by the group. We’ll create some kind of art or whatever we can with it.”

Margarete Tober, president of the Gulfport Neighbors, welcomes a crowd of about 60 clean-up volunteers and explains how the effort will be divided into four teams covering different geographic areas. “By you being out here today, it shows that it is a wonderful world. Please keep on doing good things.”

Margo Rose of Gulfport demonstrates how volunteers used hand-operated litter picker poles to collect non-recyclable items that are then placed into black plastic garbage bags. Items that can be recycled are placed into white bags like “cans, plastic bottles and paper,” she said. She is a veteran volunteer at clean-up efforts because, “trash is not acceptable in my society, in my home.”

Nicole Ingham and her dad, Bill Ingham of Pinellas Park work together on one of the volunteer litter picking teams located along 49th Street South. “My daughter is volunteering today as part of a school project.” In the background is St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “The area is a lot cleaner than it used to be,” said Kriseman, who has participated in the event for four years. It’s about “having pride in your community. When people see that we care, they care. I appreciate the partnership between our two cities. We share this corridor but we share a whole lot more than that. It’s great to see us all working together.”


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