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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott Wagman says St. Petersburg's Childs Park area needs makeover



ST. PETERSBURG-- Mayoral hopeful Scott Wagman said the Childs Park neighborhood needs to be cleaned up.

While driving through Childs Park Monday morning, Wagman, a real estate investor, said he was troubled by the sight of groups of aimless young men.

"You could just see things that are not savory were going on," he said.

Asked if he thought the men were committing crimes, he said he didn't know for sure, but, "you look at the demeanor and the body language and the presence of young men that should be in school or employed. You look around at the illegally parked cars, the code violations, the boarded up houses. You can just tell (I'm making a huge assumption) good things are not happening there in those boarded up houses."

The area has already been targeted for revitalization by Mayor Rick Baker. The neighborhood has a large population of property renters and youths, demographics that are generally not known for their civic activism.

If elected mayor, Wagman said he would provide the neighborhood with more trash receptacles and paint and oversee a clean up effort. Property renters need to be motivated, he said.

"We are going to have to go and inform these people. It is their obligation... to be functioning members of society," he said. "Nobody is showing them why it benefits them and why it will help everyone."

Childs Park property owners have told him they want the neighborhood cleaned up, he said. The area has too much litter, he said. Garbage containers have been tipped over.

"It's a pretty cool community," he said. "It's just a mess."

-Cristina Silva, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:49am]


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