St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and members of the administration detailed a comparatively constructive image on the state of town’s economic system on Wednesday regardless of the impacts of COVID-19.
What You Want To Know
- St. Pete leaders say town has fared properly regardless of COVID hardships
- Native enterprise house owners say they’re nonetheless struggling
- Some expressed concern concerning the metropolis’s deal with Tropicana Discipline redevelopment somewhat than extra speedy points
The theme of the greater than 90-minute digital presentation was on the resiliency and variety of town’s economic system, although the mayor acknowledged that this has been a particularly troublesome 12 months for many individuals and companies.
“I don’t wish to sugarcoat something, and that wasn’t our intent at present – to not acknowledge that our small companies have struggled, that folks have misplaced their jobs, and that it’s been an actual problem,” Kriseman stated. “However I believe it’s honest to say that our neighborhood and our metropolis have fared much better than so many different cities in our area and in our state and on this nation.”
The presentation went into appreciable element on the mayor’s 4 priorities:
- A deal with small companies
- Fairness and workforce improvement
- Constructing on town’s belongings
- Planning for the longer term.
There was a flurry of statistics exhibiting that, actually, St. Pete has remained resilient regardless of the affect of the coronavirus. Metropolis Improvement Administrator Alan DeLisle touted that the City Land Institute is now rating the Tampa Bay space because the sixth market to look at this 12 months, in comparison with rating 11th in 2020.
DeLisle stated the poverty hole between white and Black residents had dropped from 23% to eight% since 2014.
There have been additionally references to the St. Pete Pier, which lastly opened up final summer time and was ranked because the second greatest new attraction of 2020, according to USA Today.
After the presentation, Spectrum Bay Information 9 spent a while on Central Avenue to listen to how some native enterprise house owners are holding up.
Gary Burnside manages the property of a number of companies on the 600 block of Central Avenue. He says he pandemic has damage his tenants extraordinarily arduous.
“Come (final) March, we had extra visitors right here on this block then that they had on Seaside Drive. After which April got here alongside, they usually shut town down and it went useless,” he stated, including that led to his boss waiving the hire for a few of these tenants for a number of months.
“We’re coming again, however , have a look at it,” he stated concerning the comparatively gentle quantity of human visitors shifting about at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. “There’s not that many individuals on the block. Again in March, lots of people have been again on the block. Tables have been crammed up with individuals consuming and socializing. It ain’t occurring proper now.”
A kind of tenants is Christy Faris, the proprietor of Christy’s Enchanted Notions. A lifelong resident of St. Petersburg who jokes that the one place she would ever depart it for is Key West, she stated that she’s been “disillusioned” about some franchise companies shifting into the district.
“The mayor promised us that that was a kind of issues, when he fought up and down the road with us and stated ‘Preserve St. Pete native.’ I don’t suppose he stored his promise to that,” she stated. “You’ll be able to look throughout the road, and you may see that we’ve got tons of franchises coming in. And that’s not holding us native with little mother and pop retailers and making St. Pete tremendous.”
Christy Faris, proprietor of Christy’s Enchanted Notions in St. Pete (Spectrum Information)
A number of blocks east of her retailer resides 5 Bucks Drinkery, owned by Joshua Connell. He just lately settled a lawsuit filed in opposition to his institution for not following town’s COVID-19 ordinance.
Like Faris, Connell is a St. Pete native who says he loves his house metropolis. Nevertheless, he’s delay by the current consideration to the redevelopment of Tropicana Discipline, saying that with the Tampa Bay Rays nonetheless dedicated to fulfilling their lease till 2027, town ought to deal with extra urgent wants.
“I believe we have to deal with some actual speedy short-term points,” he says. “Speaking about reasonably priced housing. Speaking about infrastructure.”
Little doubt there’ll be plenty of discuss that as the competition for the following mayor of St. Petersburg heats up later this summer time.