Sunday, September 23, 2018
News Roundup

Mayor Rick Kriseman has deal for new St. Petersburg police headquarters

ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Saturday that he has struck a deal with Pinellas County that will allow the city to build a new police headquarters all at once. The revelation was the highlight of his first State of the City address from the steps of City Hall.

In figuring out the financing for a $70 million facility, Kriseman might have found a solution to a problem that has bedeviled two previous administrations. He told the crowd he had reached an agreement in principle with the county to redirect Penny for Pinellas money. Both the City Council and the County Commission, however, will need to approve it.

Many of the 250 or so gathered at the steps of City Hall on a blustery morning welcomed the news that police will get a state-of-the-art home able to withstand at least a Category 4 hurricane. As recently as 14 months ago, the city had said it might need to build the facility in phases.

"It's so overdue. It's a pressing, critical need," council member Darden Rice said. "It makes sense to do construction all at once in terms of cost savings." Council members Bill Dudley and Steve Kornell also said they were inclined to support the plan.

But previous attempts to funnel Penny money has met public opposition and divided council members. On Saturday, council member Wengay Newton questioned which Penny for Pinellas projects would be scuttled or curtailed to find the money. Kriseman's staff said after the speech that they hadn't decided which projects to draw from.

The new headquarters is to be built across First Avenue N from the existing station and will last for seven decades, Kriseman said. The current headquarters, cobbled together from two buildings, has long been acknowledged as too small and antiquated for the agency, lacking even enough room to store evidence or question people.

In his speech, the mayor also announced that Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin will oversee a "Healthy St. Pete" initiative to partner with the private sector to foster healthy lifestyle options. But he didn't go into much detail on the program in his 27-minute speech.

Reaction to Kriseman's address was mostly positive. Many in the crowd were city employees and politicians, including U.S. Rep. David Jolly, state Reps. Darryl Rouson and Dwight Dudley, and seven council members. But plenty of residents turned out, as well.

Monique Comer, 31, owner of a thrift and boutique store in south St. Petersburg, said she appreciated Kriseman's attention to her neighborhood.

"I agree with the strides he's trying to make for the underprivileged and for the betterment of our city," she said.

Kriseman urged all city residents to get behind an effort to fight poverty and improve neighborhoods in some parts of south St. Petersburg: "Help us blur the lines, help us move this historic area into its next chapter."

Previous mayors have tried to bolster the city's poorer neighborhoods with infrastructure improvements, Rouson said. "This mayor knows it's not building buildings, but building up people," he said.

On a morning so windy that Kriseman's blue tie often ended up brushing his shoulders, the sun dramatically appeared just as he started to speak.

"There's my sun," he said. "I was a little worried."

He then launched into his oft-repeated refrain of St. Petersburg as a city "where the sun shines on all who come to live, work and play."

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

 
Comments
Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

One of the dominant storylines heading into Monday Night Football between the first-place Buccaneers and the last-place Steelers will be the things we didn’t expect to see. It’s the team that usually melts down against the team that actua...
Updated: 1 hour ago

UF morning after: Gators answering opportunity’s knock

For all the positive vibes they gleaned Saturday night before a gradually disappearing audience, the Gators know they still must conquer their consistency issues.Still too many three-and-outs and muffed progressions. Too few running lanes."The consis...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says

Nearly half of cellphone calls will be scams by 2019, report says

Nearly half of all cellphone calls next year will come from scammers, according to First Orion, a company that provides phone carriers and their customers caller ID and call blocking technology.The Arkansas-based firm projects an explosion of incomin...
Published: 09/23/18
Rays journal: Blue Jays spoil wild-card bid

Rays journal: Blue Jays spoil wild-card bid

TORONTO — There was no drama, no emotional rescues after Saturday's game.After feeling, appropriately, crushed after they gave away Thursday's game, blowing a six-run lead in the ninth, then bouncing back Friday, the Rays on Saturday faced a st...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jordan Cronkrite’s big run helps USF stay perfect with win over ECU

Jordan Cronkrite’s big run helps USF stay perfect with win over ECU

TAMPA — Whenever USF handed the ball to running back Jordan Cronkrite on Saturday night, a big play seemed close. The Bulls were just one block, one chip, one cut away."We knew it was coming," quarterback Blake Barnett said.Finally, with 1...
Updated: 8 hours ago
USF journal: Standout returner Terrence Horne out with torn ACL

USF journal: Standout returner Terrence Horne out with torn ACL

TAMPA — USF opened its American Athletic Conference schedule Saturday with a 20-13 victory against East Carolina, but it had to do so without the nation's top returner.Freshman receiver and return specialist Terrence Horne tore his ACL in pract...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Joey Knight’s takeaways from Florida-Tennessee

Joey Knight’s takeaways from Florida-Tennessee

For all their defensive opportunism Saturday, make no mistake: The Gators probably remain a year or two away from seriously contending again in the SEC East Division. Still, it beats the Vols, who appear a light-year or two away.Jeremy Pruitt confirm...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Matt Baker’s takeaways from USF-East Carolina

Matt Baker’s takeaways from USF-East Carolina

I figured East Carolina would either look amazing or awful to start, considering it spent the past week and a half in Orlando because of Hurricane Florence. Turns out the Pirates channeled their emotions well, scoring on their first possession and fo...
Updated: 8 hours ago
UF journal: A resounding return for LB David Reese

UF journal: A resounding return for LB David Reese

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Gator fans have spent the better part of September wondering if junior LB David Reese ever would get on the field.They spent the better part of Saturday hoping he'd never come off.Reese, whose 2018 debut was postponed by a hi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Florida extends Tennessee’s recent SEC futility

Florida extends Tennessee’s recent SEC futility

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — On an evening in which Tennessee honored its 1998 national championship squad, the current crop of Vols managed to offset the whole nostalgic shindig.By making the 2018 Gators resemble a national championship-caliber club.A o...
Updated: 9 hours ago