Central Cocoanut Neighborhood Association members undertake beautification and environmentally friendly project in Pioneer Park

Project part of Hog Creek watershed restoration efforts

This sign in Pioneer Park provides information about the butterfly garden. Image courtesy Visit Sarasota County

Recently, the members of the Central Cocoanut Neighborhood Association invited dozens of Bay Haven School of Basics Plus students, their families and friends “to roll up their sleeves on a Saturday to give some extra TLC [tender loving care] to Pioneer Park, all while socially distanced,” Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin reported in his Oct. 9 newsletter.

In coordination with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, Barwin continued, the association used a $2,000 neighborhood grant it won from the city for the purchase and installation of more than 200 Florida native plants, as part of the Hog Creek watershed restoration. “The plantings include a variety of lovely flowering plants, trees and bushes, grasses and aquatic plants that will provide a protective buffer, absorb and help clean water at Hog Creek before it enters our beautiful Sarasota Bay,” Barwin pointed out. “The project also has been supported by Sarasota County and the Sarasota Bay Estuary Bay Program,” he noted.

In addition, the volunteers extended the existing Save Sarasota Bay and the Manatees butterfly garden by 1,000 square feet, Barwin continued. Since the garden opened in May 2019, he added, volunteers have logged more than 100 hours “weeding the area and painting colorful pavers.

“Bravo to all involved for their community spirit and dedication to restoring this important watershed and revitalizing the area,” he wrote.

“If you haven’t stopped by Pioneer Park recently, we invite you to do so,” Barwin continued. The park is located at 1260 12th St., catty-corner from Centennial Park on U.S. 41, he noted, and it is easily accessible from Cocoanut Avenue between 11th and 12th streets.