01/11/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman, who has declared the long-delayed pier project will proceed in its entirety despite calls to scale it back, said Tuesday that time is a factor in his decision.
If the city doesn't build the over-water portion of the 26-acre Pier District now — as some have advocated — it could be difficult to do so later, he told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board....
ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority is close to buying back Jordan Park — a public housing complex it once owned — without having to pay a penny, except for closing costs.
The agency had hoped to close on the 24-acre property last fall, but now says it could sign a purchase agreement any day now. The closing is pending approval from both the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Florida Housing Finance Corp....
The installation of Bishop Gregory L. Parkes as head of Tampa Bay's Roman Catholics on Wednesday was steeped in liturgical splendor and symbolism.
There was the moment when he took possession of the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle, the 6-foot, 8-inch bishop knocking on the closed door he had to stoop to enter, kissing an offered crucifix and sprinkling himself and those around him with holy water....
ST. PETERSBURG — Roman Catholics in the Tampa Bay area will get a new shepherd on Wednesday.
Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, 52, is set to be installed as the fifth bishop of the St. Petersburg Diocese during a 2 p.m. service at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.
Parkes will succeed Bishop Robert Nugent Lynch, 75, who is retiring after almost 21 years as head of the diocese which spans Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties....
ST. PETERSBURG — Roman Catholics shouldn't be surprised if they run into their new spiritual leader snagging buy-one-get-one deals at the grocery store.
Bishop Gregory L. Parkes will probably be wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
The 52-year-old does his own shopping and cooking. Pasta, grilling and slow-cooked meals are his specialty. He does his own laundry, too.
His mother taught him and his two brothers to be independent....
12/23/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Walter McCanless doesn't want the city to build the Pier and is mulling a petition drive to stop the project. He said the cost of replacing the waterfront landmark — it's currently $66 million, but the mayor wants to spend even more — is too high.
The city could spend the money on other problems, he said, like fixing its failing sewer system.
"I just feel like it's a waste of money and I think the city of St. Petersburg has evolved beyond the Pier," said McCanless, 79, who has lived in St. Petersburg since 1954....
ST. PETERSBURG — The historic former YMCA is getting even more bedraggled.
Vandals repeatedly deface its exterior walls with graffiti. Beer bottles and cans litter inground street planters and many windows have broken panes.
The city has cited the long-shuttered former Y, seemingly forgotten amid a sea of downtown construction projects, for graffiti, overgrowth and debris, an expired roof permit and disrepair of its walls, paint and windows....
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman wants another $14 million from Pinellas to perfect the now $80 million Pier12/14/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Rick Kriseman wants Pinellas County to shift another $14 million toward helping St. Petersburg finish the increasingly expensive Pier District.
The city has not yet made a formal request to the county, which last year dedicated another $20 million to the then-$46 million project, bringing the current budget to $66 million. Kriseman wants to spend up to $80 million to perfect the Pier, and the mayor has been talking to Pinellas County commissioners and St. Petersburg City Council members about his idea. But some are already pushing back against it....
Mayor Rick Kriseman reveals more details about $80 million Pier District, but council's not convinced12/14/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was supposed to get an update on the Pier District plan early Thursday morning. What they got instead was another debate about the growing cost of replacing the city's waterfront icon.
The presentation given to the council included architectural renderings depicting an $80 million Pier District — not the currently budgeted $66 million project....
On Sunday, Alexander Johnson wrote a one-sentence letter to the Florida Division of Elections. It said that he was withdrawing from the District 24 state senate race.
His isn't a household name. Johnson, 23, was a write-in candidate for the seat held by incumbent Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. With no other opposition, that means Brandes cruises to an easy and predicted victory....
09/07/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — As residents at the Mosley Motel anxiously hunt for new homes before a fast-approaching eviction deadline, a series of legal maneuvers threatens to distract them.
First, more than five dozen residents have filed a suit against the motel's new owners, Altis Cardinal LLC, asking a judge to stay their Sept. 16 evictions. Their suit, to be heard at 9:15 a.m. today before Pinellas County Judge Lorraine Kelly, seeks more time to find "adequate, affordable housing" — something social workers say is in scarce supply....
09/05/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A year ago, heavy equipment began chomping away at the city's famous inverted pyramid.
But just like all of the city's protracted and controversial efforts to replace the iconic Pier, demolition has not gone as planned.
The old pyramid, its deck and the pier approach bridge into the Tampa Bay should have been hacked to smithereens by February and hauled off to be recycled, disposed of or trucked to the city's historic airport to restore its shoreline....
08/19/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Pilings for the city's new pier won't go in for months, but for the committee charged with choosing public art for the $66 million Pier District, the deadline is tight.
Architects must know soon whether special infrastructure will be needed for the chosen work. As yet, though, the committee appointed by the city's Public Arts Commission has not picked an artist and is unsure how much money it will have to spend....
08/18/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Restoration of downtown's historic former YMCA may be off to a slow start, but the weeds around the building are not.
They had grown to several feet this week, meriting a code violation notice from the city. The building at 116 Fifth St. S also has been cited for graffiti.
"We are addressing those issues," said owner Nick Ekonomou, who plans to convert the Mediterranean Revival-style building into a boutique hotel and event venue....
08/17/16 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Residents of Mosley Motel — poor families with young children; the elderly, ill and handicapped — learned Tuesday that the place they call home is set to close on Sept. 30.
To Mosley residents and the social services agencies scrambling to help them move, that meant a six-week window to find new homes. But Tuesday evening the motel's new owners, Altis Cardinal Storage of Miami, gave residents notices telling them that their rental agreements will end sooner, on Sept. 16....