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The goal of the proposed “Booker Prairie” design is to meld manmade and natural images signifying the historical headwaters of Booker Creek and celebrating the experience of rain recharging clean water to the aquifer and coastal estuary. The headwaters of Booker Creek on the Pinellas peninsula historically originated from a large grassy seasonally wet basin at the site of the proposed Booker Creek Apartments.
The symbolic recreation of the Booker Prairie Headwaters will anchor the southeast corner of 13th Avenue North and 25th Street North in the North Kenwood neighborhood of St. Petersburg. This space is focused around the “rain-catcher”, a vertical visual architectural element that captures rain and symbolically returns it to the land in a grassy basin representative of the historical prairie. Water will settle here and support native grassy vegetation. Upon overfilling its capacity it will run through a serpentine grassy channel that suggests a creek on its way downstream. To add mystery to the origin and meaning of this place, an ancient-looking plaque etched with the words “Booker Prairie 1848” will inspire wonder and inquiries.
In addition to being representative and commemorative of history and ecology, this design will also be a living functional example of sustainable landscape and stormwater practices. The holistic aspect of this project sends an important message through artistic representation of a modern day issue rooted in history.
The Booker Prairie rain garden is designated as a Certified Florida-Friendly Landscape, by the Pinellas County IFAS Extension Office on July 30th, 2010.