Sunday, October 21, 2018
News Roundup

Kriseman: Time for St. Petersburg to rethink Tangerine Plaza in Midtown

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman said Sunday that the successive failures of Sweetbay and Walmart in Midtown suggested the city should rethink economic development in the neighborhood.

"We, as a community, may need to rethink Tangerine (Plaza)," Kriseman said. "We can't keep doing things the same way over and over again and expecting different results."

Krisman criticized Walmart's handling of its closing of the store at 22nd Street S and 18th Avenue S to several hundred people gathered in an auditorium at Fairmount Park Elementary School in Childs Park as part of his second annual Urban Affairs update.

The mayor said Midtown has been "failed too many times by corporate America" and expressed displeasure with the global retailer.

"I don't like that it closed. I don't like the way they told us. And I don't like that they're not taking care of their employees," Kriseman said.

Walmart spokesman Phillip Keene said Sunday that the company is open to discussing its employee placement work with Kriseman. "As we said at the time of our announcement, one of our highest priorities was supporting our associates through this process, and we meant it — in fact, many members of our store team have already said they would like to continue working at Walmart and we have been able to offer them other positions within the company," he said.

Kriseman said the store's scheduled closure in early March gives the city an opportunity to find a sustainable replacement.

"One of our top priorities will be to get this thing right once and for all," the mayor said.

After the brief remarks Sunday, Kriseman and other top city officials spent about 30 minutes answering questions from the standing-room-only crowd. Many of the questions addressed how the city planned to reverse a recent string of bad economic news for the city's predominantly black neighborhoods within the newly minted South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area.

Aside from Walmart's closing, Walgreens shuttered its Midtown store last year. Also last year, the city seized Sylvia's restaurant inside the historic Manhattan Casino after its owner fell behind on rent payments.

Kriseman pointed to the Skyway Marina District's new Publix and remodeled Burger King as nearby positive signs and promised to do his best to deliver a Lowe's or Home Depot to the city's southern neighborhoods.

"We are out every day working to try and bring those businesses to this community because y'all deserve that," Kriseman said.

But the mayor also said the city might concentrate on smaller, more local businesses to spur development like it did farther north on 22nd Street in Commerce Park.

In that neighborhood, the city has not yet made a decision on what will happen in the Manhattan Casino, which has been empty since last June after Sylvia's failure. Two bids are being evaluated. The city may choose to reopen the process or pick a winning bid, said Alan DeLisle, the city's top economic development official.

Kriseman also touched on the redevelopment of Tropicana Field in response to a question asking how it would benefit Midtown and Childs Park.

Although the Tampa Bay Rays haven't made a decision where to build a new ballpark, city planners have focused on how best to integrate the Trop's 85 acres with Campbell Park and other neighborhoods to the south of Interstate 175, Kriseman said.

Anything built will be intended to "flow into the community" and make sure Midtown "stays connected," the mayor said.

Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin praised Kriseman's desire to foster a business-friendly environment in the city.

"This mayor is all about cutting ribbons and cutting red tape," Tomalin said.

Contact Charlie Frago at [email protected] or (727)893-8459. Follow @CharlieFrago.

Comments
Sunday Morning Quarterback: Plant City makes things interesting

Sunday Morning Quarterback: Plant City makes things interesting

Highlights from Week 9:Player of the WeekTre'Pavis Mobley, Zephyrhills: The playmaker usually has the biggest impact on offense as a receiver. On Friday, he shined on defense, picking off two passes and swatting away two others to help the Bulldogs b...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hometown Hernando/Pasco for Oct. 26

Hometown Hernando/Pasco for Oct. 26

News and notes about your neighbors
Published: 10/21/18
Lightning falls to Wild in overtime

Lightning falls to Wild in overtime

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn't kidding when he said Xcel Energy is a tough place to play.The Lightning extended its winless streak in Minnesota to six games under Cooper on Saturday with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Wild as M...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs fans vs. Browns fans: Who has had it worse?

Bucs fans vs. Browns fans: Who has had it worse?

TAMPA — If the Bucs had an NFL brother from another mother, it would be the Browns.They've shared a lot more than Vinny Testaverde.Fan bases scarred by historic losing streaks, threats and effects of franchise relocation and decades of sad Sund...
Updated: 10 hours ago
USF journal: Jordan Cronkrite makes another run into the record book

USF journal: Jordan Cronkrite makes another run into the record book

TAMPA — It was just a 6-yard run in a game that was already all but over; USF was running out the clock in its 38-30 victory against Connecticut on Saturday when the carry pushed RB Jordan Cronkrite over the 100-yard rushing mark.But for Cronkr...
Updated: 10 hours ago
No. 21 USF escapes with 38-30 win over UConn

No. 21 USF escapes with 38-30 win over UConn

TAMPA — USF entered Saturday's homecoming contest against Connecticut needing not so much a statement game as a satisfying one, just a feel-good effort following a sequence of close, concerning ones.Problem is, these Bulls never can follow a se...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning journal: J.T. Brown reflects on Tampa Bay time

Lightning journal: J.T. Brown reflects on Tampa Bay time

ST. PAUL, Minn. — J.T. Brown's past year has been nothing short of busy and filled with changes.The Lightning put the forward on waivers in January in the middle of his sixth season with the franchise after he signed as an undrafted free agent ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-UConn

Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-UConn

The offensive procrastination must end for USF — now. The Bulls have totaled 26 first-quarter points in their past five games, lowlighted by a scoreless opening period Saturday. That won't cut it against the Houstons and Temples (or even Tulane...
Updated: 11 hours ago
ESPN’s College GameDay headed to Florida-Georgia

ESPN’s College GameDay headed to Florida-Georgia

The biggest Florida-Georgia game in years will have the pregame hype to match the high stakes.ESPN's College GameDay will be in Jacksonville for the annual rivalry game, the network announced Saturday evening. The SEC Network's pregame show, SEC Nati...
Updated: 11 hours ago
USF’s messy, at times ugly, but still perfect

USF’s messy, at times ugly, but still perfect

TAMPA — They're not Alabama. Oh, are they not Alabama.They might not even be UCF.The USF Bulls are the least-respected unbeaten team in Division I-A, and they're also second banana in the AAC to those perfect scoundrels 80 miles down I-4.And th...
Updated: 11 hours ago