Friday, August 6, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman’s office announced that the engineering firm contracted by the city to do ground-penetrating radar work under Tropicana Field has discovered at least three possible graves, as well as other “areas of interest” at the site.
According to the Friday release, on, Tuesday, July 20, engineering company Cardno provided a draft report to City of St. Petersburg staff revealing that three possible graves have been identified as well as an area that may contain more graves. According to the mayor’s office, the findings were presented to Kriseman this week.
“Identified graves are located in Tropicana Field Parking Lots 1&2, at the southern boundary adjacent to 5th Avenue South as well as the freeway, I-275,” the release stated. “The three possible graves were part of the Oaklawn Cemetery, which was founded as a cemetery serving white citizens. The other areas of interest extend to adjacent cemeteries to the south including what was the Evergreen Cemetery, established as an African American cemetery, and the Moffett Cemetery, which served as the final resting place for citizens of all races.”
The release quoted Kriseman: “While the number of potential graves discovered is small, it is not insignificant. Every person has value and no one should be forgotten. This process is of the utmost importance and we will continue to do right by these souls and all who loved them as we move forward.”
The next step involves a proposal from Cardno about creating a work plan to further investigate their findings, according to the release. The city promised to consult community members – including descendants, stakeholders and other groups – as they move forward.