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Posted on: September 3, 2021

Grant Award to Conduct Historic Survey

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St. Pete Beach Announces the Receipt of a Grant Award to Conduct an Historic Survey of the  Don CeSar Place and Belle Vista Neighborhoods

St. Pete Beach— 9/1/2021 — St. Pete Beach is proud to announce the receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Florida State Division of Historical Resources. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida. The money is allocated toward conducting an historic survey of the Don CeSar Place Neighborhood and a portion of the Belle Vista Neighborhood. 

The Don CeSar Place Neighborhood is a significant historic neighborhood in St. Pete Beach located immediately north of the Pass-a-Grille Neighborhood, between 32nd to 37th Avenue North. It was platted in 1925 by Thomas J. Rowe, the developer of the Don CeSar Hotel. Rowe purchased the land from C. Perry Snell, noted St. Petersburg developer, in 1925.  

Mr. Rowe based the subdivision’s street names on names from his favorite opera, “Maritana,” a beautiful tribute to his passion. While several homes were built in the 1920s, most of the residences date from the ‘30s.  

This year-long historic survey involves selecting a qualified historic survey specialist who will survey and prepare new or revised Florida Master Site File forms for approximately 330 historic resources that are 50 years old or more (about 177 buildings in the Don CeSar Place Neighborhood and 153 buildings in the Belle Vista Neighborhood) It also involves preparing a written report, presenting these findings to the Historic Preservation Board and City Commission, and submitting the completed Florida Master Site File forms to the State Division of Historical Resources. This effort will conclude by June 30, 2022.  

Because the Don CeSar Neighborhood has some of the lowest ground elevations in St. Pete Beach, it is at risk for inundation during significant storm events. As the City continues evaluating and implementing coastal resiliency strategies to protect its neighborhoods and businesses, it also recognizes the importance of preserving its cultural and aesthetic heritage.  

St. Pete Beach Senior Planner Lynn Rosetti said, “This grant opens a major opportunity for the City of St. Pete Beach to continue identifying its historic resources, a process which began over 35 years ago in the Pass-a-Grille Neighborhood which is now also a National Register Historic District. We will be surveying properties in the Don CeSar Place and Belle Vista neighborhoods. There are properties in these neighborhoods dating back to the 1920’s. As we continue to develop and evolve as a community, we should never lose sight of our culture and history because they help define the City’s character and are worthy of protecting.”

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