Sunday, August 19, 2018


Caitlin Johnston, Times staff writer

Caitlin Johnston, Times staff writer

Caitlin Johnston covers the city of St. Petersburg, including the decisions made within city hall and the impacts those have on the community and its people. She joined the Tampa Bay Times in 2013 and previously covered transportation. She is a graduate of Indiana University, with her master's from the University of Maryland. She is always looking for story ideas.

Traffic is seen during morning rush hour on Interstate 275 headed northbound on the Howard Frankland Bridge. State officials are planning to build a new span of the bridge, which would open in  2024. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

Contract to build new Howard Frankland Bridge is record $814M

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Department of Transportation is prepared to pay a contractor $814 million to design and build a new, 8-lane Howard Frankland Bridge linking Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.A draft request for...
Published: 08/16/18
Tampa Bay Watch volunteer Frank Gallant, of Tampa, works to sort plastics and polystyrenes recently  which were collected from a Watergoat which has been installed on Lake Maggiore in an effort to protect wildlife. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

St. Pete wants to get tougher on single-use plastics, polystyrene

ST. PETERSBURG — Food trucks, grocery stores, restaurants and any business that serves food and drink in the city could face some big changes in the way they use plastic and polystyrene products in the coming years.Imagine...
Published: 08/15/18
In 2016, signs at St. Petersburg's North Shore Park warn people to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]

Diver sues city of St. Petersburg over sewage spills, hearing loss

ST. PETERSBURG —A certified diver and boat captain is suing the city, alleging that the 2015 sewage spills — and lack of proper notification — caused him to suffer a hearing loss from the bacteria he was exposed to while...
Published: 08/14/18
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2017)
City officials are reviewing proposals for Midtown\u2019s Tangerine Plaza, which lost its Walmart Neighborhood Market last year.

Tangerine Plaza ideas: Housing? A farmers market? A skating rink?

ST. PETERSBURG — Tangerine Plaza could soon house a farmers market, or maybe a department store. It could host social service programs, or become the site of affordable housing. It could even get a skating rink.The future of the problematic...
Published: 08/08/18
Updated: 08/09/18
This rendering from New York's HKS Architects shows what a redeveloped Tropicana Field site could look like if it includes a new baseball stadium. The city is exploring how to best redevelop the 86-acre Trop site. HKS finished the master plan with a new baseball stadium and is now working on a master plan for the area that would not include a stadium, a plan that assumes the Tampa Bay Rays will relocate to Tampa. [HKS Architects]

Reimagining the Trop: A riverwalk, a convention center, a new name?

Published: 08/07/18
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. (CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times)

The new normal: Utility rates continue to rise in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — Get ready for another increase in utility rates. And another. And another.City Council members approved a utility rate hike Thursday that would start in October and raise utility bills between $7 to $10 each. That was only the...
Published: 08/04/18
A drilling tower was used to drill into a well that will reach an underground cave with a storage capacity of 15 million gallons at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility. The storage tank behind it holds 10 million gallons. These sewage improvements were made in 2017 as part of the city's state-mandated $326 million program to repair and upgrade its sewage system. But residents could face more rate increases to pay for it all. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]

Bad news St. Pete: utility rates, stormwater fees could rise

ST. PETERSBURG — City Council is set Thursday to review a proposed utility rate increase and start discussing stormwater fee changes that could end up costing some residents even more money.To start, all residents can expect their water and...
Updated one month ago
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman speaks to the crowd at St. Petersburg City Hall after he was sworn in for a second term.. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

Catching up with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, focused on his second term

ST. PETERSBURG — As Rick Kriseman settles into his second term as mayor of St. Petersburg, he’s looking to wrap up massive infrastructure projects, learn from mistakes and continue to think boldly.Kriseman sat down with the Tampa Bay Times...
Updated one month ago
A rendering of the proposed Echelman sculpture showing a daytime view from Vinoy Park. Council members are now considering moving the sculpture to the east of the St. Petersburg Museum of History at 335 Second Ave. NE. (Studio Echelman)

Echelman sculpture edges closer to approval in new location

ST. PETERSBURG — City Council members on Thursday praised the proposed new location for Janet Echelman's floating art sculpture near the St. Petersburg Museum of History, signaling that the new location could be approved as...
Updated one month ago
Michael Havener, top, Brittany Mattie, bottom left, and Brittany Havener watch the band, Pepper during the Slightly Stoopid concert at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Vinoy Park is the city's most visited park, according to an annual ranking by the Trust for Public Land. [EVE EDELHEIT  |  Times]

St. Petersburg ranked best parks in Florida by national non-profit

ST. PETERSBURG — Thanks to nearly 40,000 acres of parks, including a plethora of basketball hoops and dog parks, the city edged out Tampa, Miami, and Orlando as the best city for parks in Florida, according to an annual ranking by...
Updated one month ago