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Saint Petersburg, Florida, United States

Opportunity to Remake a City's Image

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There has been a flurry of developments for St. Pete - approvals for 3 apartment developments downtown, the possibility of top chef restaurants at the complex formerly known as BayWalk, and negotiations for a Sylvia's at the Manhattan Casino building moving forward. Of particular interest is BayWalk and Manhattan Casino happenings, which if they come to fruition, would be significant coups for "little 'ol" St. Pete.

However, the projects which would have the greatest impact on the image of the city seem to be floundering with the current leadership. These are the new Pier, and new stadium for the Rays. Leadership appears to be buckling under the pressure of some residents that want to save the current Pier, but may not be fully aware of the costs associated. And the approach to the Rays stadium has been simply to hold the team to a contract.

Both of these require stronger leadership. The Lens wasn't my pick, but it is the one chosen by the Council, and the city should move forward with the plans rather than rehash the issue through a referendum. It already took years (and lots of public input) to get to this point. And the city certainly has a great opportunity with the Rays to have a world-class facility built in the city (whether downtown or otherwise) and/or make a large tract of land available for redevelopment. A new Pier, a new Rays stadium and/or a new, shiny, mega-development in downtown St. Pete would definitely cause folks to take notice of the city, and generate quite a but of buzz, something the city and Tampa Bay as a whole could use more of. I hope our leadership steps up to the plate on these two issues.

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