Monday, August 28, 2006

A new plant site in view?

A growing congregation wants to build a synagogue where a community garden now grows.

Published August 27, 2006

ST. PETERSBURG - The Chabad Jewish Center has outgrown its current storefront location and wants to build a synagogue in the Tyrone area. Its target: the Azalea Community Garden on 22nd Avenue N.

Rabbi Alter Korf, which has led the center on Central Avenue for the past two years, said he is sensitive to the fact that the community garden would have to give way to development. The city owns the garden on 22nd Avenue N between 78th and 79th streets.

"We certainly don't want to see people's hobbies cut short and we are working with the city to ensure that the garden can be moved," he said.

The three neighborhood groups that represent property owners closest to the community garden - the Azalea Homes Community Association, the Jungle Terrace Civic Association and the Jungle Prada Neighborhood Association - first heard of the Jewish center's interest last week from City Council member Rick Kriseman.

"The congregation of the Chabad identified the parcel of land on 22nd Avenue N as a site of potential interest and contacted me," said Kriseman, whose district includes the garden and surrounding neighborhoods.

Kriseman said that after he referred the group to the appropriate city departments, he contacted leaders of the community associations to let them know of the interest.

Karl Nurse, president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations, thinks that was a good move. Nurse said he wishes city development issues were handled this way more often.

"Historically, what has happened is that we hear about it after the deal has progressed to the point that designs have been drawn and the ball is rolling," he said. "When we can get neighborhoods involved in the discussion on the front end it's a good thing."

Paul Traxler, who is president of the Jungle Prada Neighborhood Association, said he isn't all that familiar with the community garden, but tends to be in favor of the sale.

"I don't know much about it. I've driven by it and haven't always liked the way it looked," Traxler said during a neighborhood meeting Wednesday.

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Anonymous said...

this article is posted on this blog without permission of the owner.

Anonymous said...

the post was edited to show only an excerpt, per the owners request.