Saturday, June 23, 2018
Politics

St. Petersburg to be reimbursed nearly $1 million for RNC security at the Trop

Nearly $1 million will flow from Tampa's $50 million grant for convention security to cover St. Petersburg's police expenses for the Republican National Convention's kickoff party at Tropicana Field on Aug. 26.

The cities reached the deal this week, and St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster signed it Friday, said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Tampa will reimburse St. Petersburg $600,000 for overtime expenses for the RNC welcome party and $80,000 for fencing and barricades at city facilities and on the protest parade route, Proffitt said. Tampa also will provide $270,000 for surveillance cameras and ancillary equipment in St. Petersburg's Event Zone.

With 20,000 delegates, dignitaries and journalists expected to attend the welcome party, hundreds of officers will be needed to secure the Event Zone, which covers about 7.4 square miles of downtown St. Petersburg. The agreement is expected to go before the Tampa City Council on Thursday.

Restaurants seeing more inspectors

Tampa Bay area restaurants are seeing more health inspectors as the RNC nears.

"They usually come around every six months or so," said Mark Logan, manager of Moon Under Water in downtown St. Petersburg. "In the last two months, they've come by three times."

Logan and others said word started getting around a few months ago that health inspectors were stepping up the frequency of routine visits. Staff at places like Pizza Fusion in downtown Tampa said officials made it clear the extra visits were because of the RNC.

Inspectors have checked things like food temperatures, cleanliness and that equipment is in good working order. But they also have talked about food safety and asked that procedures be reinforced with employees.

"They left a bunch of information and pamphlets on food defense," said Kristina Kirk, manager at Peg's Cantina in Gulfport. "I guess it was their way of preparing for things."

— Kameel Stanley, Times staff writer

St. Petersburg mail boxes to be removed

The U.S. Postal Service plans to temporarily remove mail collection boxes from parts of St. Petersburg for the RNC.

Blue dropoff boxes in ZIP codes 33701 and 33705 will be removed Aug. 23 "in the interest of public safety and national security," according to a Postal Service news release.

In ZIP code 33701, officials will remove the boxes at 411, 527, 600 and 700 First Ave. N; 150 Second Ave. N; 501 Sixth St. N; 1 Progress Plaza; 125 Fifth St. S; 100 Third St. S; 300 Fifth St. N; 800 Second Ave. S; 50 Fifth St. S; 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N; 700 Central Ave. and 525 Mirror Lake Drive N.

In 33705, officials will remove the box at the John Knox Apartments, 1035 Arlington Ave. N.

The boxes will be reinstalled Aug. 28.

Need to mail a letter in the meantime? These post offices can take it: Open Air Station at 76 Fourth St., Main Post Office at 3135 First Ave. N, Euclid Station at 901 34th Avenue N, and Midtown Station at 1750 16th St. S.

Postal officials have previously announced a similar, temporary removal of mail boxes from downtown Tampa, starting the week of Aug. 19. Tampa's boxes will be put back the week of Sept. 2.

— Dan Sullivan, Times staff writer

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