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TBEP awards Gulfport rain garden Golden Mangrove Award

A community garden project in Gulfport has been recognized for its excellence by a regional organization which helped fund it.

Participants in the Gulfport Sustainability Committee who came together to create a rain garden outside the Gulfport Recreation Center learned in early May the garden received the 2020 Golden Mangrove Award from the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, who presents the award to “the most outstanding bay mini-grant project in each grant cycle.” The winners will accept the award in person May 27 at the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, where they’ll provide a brief overview of the project.

“The Golden Mangrove Subcommittee, which is made up of Community Advisory Committee members, felt that your project encapsulated the true mission of the Bay Mini-Grant program – a grassroots community organization with a commitment to protect Tampa Bay coming together to successfully complete a small project,” a TBEP official stated. “The review committee felt there is no organization more deserving than the Gulfport Sustainability Committee to receive the award.”

City Councilmember April Thanos, one of the participants in the project, said it began in 2020 with an idea to repurpose a small area between the recreation center and 58th Street that was meant to be a retention area. She enlisted the help of Dana Parkinson, who wrote two grants that funded the project.