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Safety concerns at Old Northeast St. Pete park; Coffee Pot Park neighbors urged to use Nextdoor app

Drunken behavior keeps families away
Posted at 3:46 AM, Jul 07, 2017

Diann O’Connor saw two men bathing themselves in the bay water at Coffee Pot Park.

"Not tourists and not from this neighborhood," O'Connor said.

She was confused and amused, but not surprised. When her husband gets up to walk the dog in the morning, around 6:00 a.m., he will call the police if he sees anyone sleeping at the park. They try to be reasonable, but vigilant.

“I think it is a problem,” says O’Connor, who lives across the street from the Old Northeast St. Pete park. “I think it discourages families from coming here.”

Neighbors are lighting up social media and police phone lines to complain about a constant presence of drunk, disruptive men in Coffee Pot Park.

Coffee Pot, located only a few blocks from the bustle of 4th Street North, is a beloved waterfront park tucked away in a little patch of paradise.

There are beer cans and liquor bottles strewn about. Some neighbors say the men often shout at passersby.

St. Pete Police have yet to make any arrests, but officers are aware of the problem and responding to complaints.

Because It is a public park, there is nothing illegal about going there to catch some shade. But drinking or causing a commotion after hours, that is when the problem starts.

“It’s not the same park that it used to be, so I’d rather take my daughter somewhere else, ” says Billy Joseph, manager at nearby Tour de Pizza.

Joseph believes the park's proximity to two liquor stores and a church which helps the homeless could be fueling the foot traffic to Coffee Pot Park, too.

“I think that’s the view of the community as well," said Joseph. "They have this beautiful park that they don’t want to take their families to.”

St. Pete Police is urging neighbors to use the non-emergency line (727) 893-7780 or reach out to a Community Service Officer (727) 551-3182).

Police are also monitoring the Nextdoor app for complaints.

In fact, if you live anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, you can file complaints or report suspicious activity on the free app.

If you would like to report suspicious behavior in a City of Tampa park or neighborhood, the non-emergency line for Tampa Police is (813) 231-6130.