Joe’s Creek Park is a prize
An empty lot in Lealman was covered with weeds and debris. That is, until citizens led by the Lealman Community Association identified a need to improve the land. The result was the Joe’s Creek Greenway Park, a multi-year project completed in November 2013.
The park project involved staff from Pinellas County Health and Community Services, Parks and Conservation Resources and the Department of Environment and Infrastructure as well as collaboration between many federal, state and local agencies and volunteer groups.
This month, the National Association of Counties recognized the park project with a 2014 Achievement Award in the Parks and Recreation category.
The 38-acre park includes a one-mile paved trail, pedestrian bridges over Joe’s Creek, observation platforms with extensive wildlife viewing opportunities, restrooms, mini picnic shelters and educational signage. The park attracts about 75,000 visitors per year.
“The transformation to the Joe’s Creek area is impressive,” said Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice. “The wildlife present is not what one would immediately expect in our dense urban county. Lealman, and Pinellas County as a whole, is made better by restoration efforts like the one at Joe’s Creek.”
The park project was also recognized in March with a second place award in the Natural Resource/Environment category of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s 22nd Annual Future of the Region Awards.
“The outcomes of this project are evidence that we can make a positive impact on our environment through restoration projects,” said Justice. “This project, and the recognition it has received, continues to highlight the commitment we have made to strong environmental stewardship in Pinellas County.”
Photo: In March 2013, the park's neighbors gathered for a workday to pick up trash in the park, and in the creek.