ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council tackled several high interest issues during an 11-hour marathon meeting Thursday, everything from baseball and the waterfront to pedal-powered party buses and street signs.
Here's a look at five actions council members took that might affect you:
1. Walter Fuller complex/Al Lang stadium
The council moved forward with a plan to extend the current management contract for the Walter Fuller sports complex even as members left open the door for philanthropist Bill Edwards or other interested parties to take over in the future.
The St. Petersburg Baseball Commission, whose contract was scheduled to end in September, will continue to run the complex until July 2015. Simultaneously, however, the city plans to put the contract up for a bid, a move supported by the administration. The council made no changes to the management contract at Al Lang, which the baseball commission also runs. But it did approve spending $250,000 to renovate the turf, in response to a complaint by Edwards.
2. BYOB on pedal buses
The council unanimously approved new rules on Thursday that will allow patrons to bring their own beer, wine, hard cider or malted beverages on open-air pedal-powered party buses.
Krista Bertelson, who owns PedalPub, made it her mission earlier this year to get the rules changed. She has been operating her bus since 2011 in St. Petersburg, but said the city's strict insurance requirements and rules prohibiting BYOB were tough for business.
Bertelson said she is willing to live with the requirement that she carry $5 million in liability insurance as long as the alcohol restrictions were eased.
3. Downtown Waterfront Master Plan
The city will move forward with a downtown waterfront master plan and will pay AECOM $495,000 to create it over the next several months. Council member Steve Kornell was the lone "no" vote on the contract, saying he was uncomfortable with the price, even as he supported the idea of a master plan.
4. Median Sponsorships
St. Petersburg will be the largest city in the county to offer median sponsorships. The council voted to allow businesses and neighborhood groups that want street-level advertising a way to pay for signs that will be placed at various medians. The money will be used to offset maintenance costs. The approval was a personal coup for council chairman Bill Dudley, who has tried to get the city to do such a program for years. It will be patterned after one in Largo, which has been around for years. There was no estimate for how much money the program could raise.
5. Business Incentive
The council unanimously approved a $182,500 incentive package for a mystery company considering moving its headquarters to St. Petersburg. It is described as a global "business process outsourcing and product support" company and would create 65 new high-paying jobs. It also is in line to get county and state funding. The city is in competition with places in North Carolina, New Jersey, Texas and Georgia for the company's business.