Monday, October 22, 2018
News Roundup

St. Petersburg set to rename main library after President Obama

ST. PETERSBURG — Speaking in front of a small crowd gathered on the front lawn of the city’s main library, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Monday that the facility will get a $6 million renovation and be renamed in honor of President Barack Obama.

The announcement coincided with Presidents’ Day and Black History Month.

Kriseman said discussions began more than a year ago about how St. Petersburg could pay tribute to the nation’s first African-American president, "a man who served honorably for two terms and has already been ranked by historians as one of our better presidents."

Input was sought from community leaders, among them Kai Warren of the Historic Roser Park neighborhood.

"It was universally supported by everybody," said Warren of the group he described as diverse and made up of more than a dozen people.

The mayor noted that cities across America and the world have already begun to honor Obama’s legacy by naming schools and streets after him, but St. Petersburg felt that a library, "where books are read, ideas are exchanged, research is conducted and where forums and lectures can take place," was the most appropriate vehicle.

"And that’s what I’m really the most excited about, what’s going to happen inside this library, with materials that focus not only on President Obama, but all of our presidents, and so much more," Kriseman said.

Library director Mika Nelson, who read an excerpt from Emma Lazarus’ poem, The New Colossus, said during Monday’s announcement that the public library represents "the pinnacle of the democratic republic" and that its doors are open to everyone. Nelson said the library is soliciting feedback for its new focus.

Stephanie Owens, an appointee in the Obama and Clinton administrations, drew applause as she listed some of Obama’s achievements.

Much of the library’s renovation will be done with funds from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. However, that money will not be available until 2020. Ben Kirby, a Kriseman spokesman, said the mayor and staff "are exploring ways to get the work done earlier."

Some work — 42 additional parking spaces at a cost of $570,000 — already has been budgeted and will begin this fall, city architect Raul Quintana said. Other improvements to the 55-year-old library at 3745 Ninth Ave. N will include ADA-compliant restrooms, an upgraded rear patio and outdoor gathering space, and reconfiguration of interior spaces with new programming areas. The facility last got a makeover in 2009, with $1 million worth of work.

Kirby said a new sign with the Obama name probably will not go up until renovations are complete. Meanwhile, the City Council must approve the change. The decision is unlikely to face much opposition, since the council is overwhelmingly Democrat.

""They all have been briefed and they all seem as enthusiastic as the mayor," Kriseman’s policy chief Kevin King said. "We’re not looking at this as a political issue, but it’s due process."

In 2014, during Kriseman’s first year in office, the Wildwood Recreation Center in the city’s Midtown area was renamed after Thomas "Jet" Jackson, a longtime city employee known for mentoring young people and as a pioneer in organizing youth sports during segregation. Though the St. Petersburg city code bars naming public buildings after a living person, the council waived that rule to allow the center to be renamed.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

Comments
Nick Kelly’s three takeaways from the Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Blackhawks

Nick Kelly’s three takeaways from the Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Blackhawks

1. The  Lightning put together an impressive response after a tough overtime loss. After dropping the first game on its road trip 5-4 to the Wild on Saturday, it put together a terrific offensive performance in beating the Blackhawks, including ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning sets league, franchise shots records in 6-3 win over Blackhawks

Lightning sets league, franchise shots records in 6-3 win over Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Blackhawks goaltender Cam Ward has seen the Lightning more than his fair share of times. Forty-five before Sunday's matchup, to be exact.But in none of those games had Ward faced pressure like he did in the second period of his 46th g...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Browns: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 26-23 overtime win

Bucs-Browns: A by-the-numbers look at Tampa Bay’s 26-23 overtime win

TAMPA — Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 26-23 overtime win against the Browns on Sunday:14Bucs' lead at the start of the fourth quarter.69Games, entering Sunday, in which the Bucs had a lead of at least 14 points at the start of the f...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

Hillsborough Sheriff: Double homicide at apartment, suspect in custody

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a double homicide after discovering the bodies of a woman and a boy in an apartment Sunday evening.About 6:47 p.m., Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister said authorities received a 911...
Updated: 5 hours ago
What’s my room number? And other, more special, Lightning road-trip hallmarks

What’s my room number? And other, more special, Lightning road-trip hallmarks

CHICAGO — Before all the Wild fans had the chance to leave Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night, reach their parking garage and let their cars warm up, the Lightning was probably already on a bus to the airport.There, they would take a charter ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Browns-Buccaneers: Beau Allen’s special pregame moment with his mother

Browns-Buccaneers: Beau Allen’s special pregame moment with his mother

TAMPA — As the Buccaneers' locker room buzzed about Chandler Catanzaro's game-winning field goal and the overtime victory, defensive tackle Beau Allen, still in his uniform, sat motionless. It was an emotional end to an emotional day."Just kind...
Updated: 7 hours ago
TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TPD: Man driving wrong way on Selmon Expressway with lights off kills 68-year-old

TAMPA — For years, Bamnet Narongchai showed up to the Wat Buddhist temple on Sunday morning to grill chicken for the temple’s weekly market.He was expected to be there this past Sunday, like always. But by the time the market started, the grim news w...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Welcome back, Jameis Winston. Seems like old times

Welcome back, Jameis Winston. Seems like old times

TAMPA — It's who he is.You don't get that by now, four seasons in?He could have won the game for his team. He could have lost the game for his team.It's who he is.Sunday, in his first home start since coming off suspension, Jameis Winston was a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs-Browns: Chandler Catanzaro converts second-chance kick to deliver Tampa Bay win

Bucs-Browns: Chandler Catanzaro converts second-chance kick to deliver Tampa Bay win

TAMPA — As much as Chandler Catanzaro could try to brush off a missed 40-yard field goal attempt that would have given the Bucs a regulation win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, it wasn't that easy.Kickers rarely get noticed when they're sp...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Jacksonville shooting: 6 shot, 3 in critical condition; Picture of car released

Jacksonville shooting: 6 shot, 3 in critical condition; Picture of car released

JACKSONVILLE — Six people have been shot a few blocks from an NFL stadium in Jacksonville, and three are in critical condition, authorities reported.No suspect is yet in custody, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.About 12:35 p.m., a vehi...
Updated: 9 hours ago