Lakewood Terrace Neighborhood Association rebuilds

ST. PETERSBURG — After years of inactivity, the Lakewood Terrace Neighborhood Association is back and stronger than ever before. At their first meeting of the year on Thurs., Jan. 21, the association elected a new slate of officers to serve on its executive board, and decided to elect two presidents to lead the organization.

Anne Drakeford, the incumbent president, has lived in the neighborhood for almost 40 years. She has seen many of the neighborhoods highs and lows.

“I remember when we would look out for one another around here. People actually cared about each other and were concerned about their neighbors. These days you have to beg just to get people to show up to an association meeting,” said Drakeford.

A retired nurse, Drakeford spends her days caring for a young toddler she affectionately calls “Big Baby” and peering out of her windows looking out for the young children walking home from Lakewood Elementary School.

Hesitant to leave her post as president, Drakeford decided that she wanted to continue in the work she had been doing for the past five years, but recognized that Lakewood Terrace was in desperate need of someone who would be vocal in expressing his or her concerns for their neighborhood.

Acknowledging that the work was too great for just one person, the association also elected 23-year-old Corey Givens, Jr. to share leadership with Drakeford.  As co-presidents, her wisdom and Givens’ energy will surely restore the association to its former glory. Over the past two months, the neighborhood association has grown from six to 26 members.

Givens Jr. grew up in Lakewood Terrace. He and his three siblings each learned to ride their bikes on the very same streets that have become a haven for crime. The Lakewood High School graduate can remember when the association fought to bring speed humps and a playground to the neighborhood, but for him that just wasn’t enough.

“Change in our city begins with change in our homes. A neighborhood association cannot get anywhere without collaboration. We have to collaborate with families, schools, the police department and the folks down at city hall if we want to see some tangible results,” said Givens, adding that he cannot just sit back and watch the neighborhood he was raised deteriorate.

Other newly elected officers include David VanWanzeele, vice president; Edna Barnes, treasurer; Wilhelmenia F. Babcock, recording secretary and Sarah Mann, corresponding secretary.

The Lakewood Terrace Neighborhood Association meets every third Thursday at 7 p.m.  at Enoch Davis Center. Neighborhood Boundaries: 34th Avenue South to Bayou Boulevard South between sixth and MLK Street.

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