08/28/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — After discovering that their docks rest on city waterfront parkland, six northeast St. Petersburg homeowners now must contend with rules limiting their use.
One prohibition: "The possession or consumption of alcohol on the premises."
"Look, I'm not a party animal, but this isn't acceptable," said Pat Bluett, 56, a Largo businessman who teamed up with his brother, Mitchell, to buy a waterfront home on Placido Way NE as a weekend boating getaway....
08/23/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Fans of the Columbia could see the popular restaurant return to the St. Petersburg Pier.
Demolition has barely begun of the old Pier, but St. Petersburg officials are already looking for someone to develop, lease and operate a restaurant at the easternmost point of its replacement. Plans also call for two more restaurants on the Pier approach.
But close proximity of the three restaurants to Beach Drive could bring unwanted competition....
08/21/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Julian Bond was a historic figure in the civil rights movement, but for some local residents, he was more than a distant hero.
Bond, who died Saturday in Fort Walton Beach, helped start the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, spoke against the Vietnam War and was elected to the Georgia Legislature. In later years, he became an NAACP chairman.
Renowned as one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s young disciples, he would go on to become an elder statesman in the fight for social and racial justice and a respected academic....
08/21/15 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Lionel Roberts moved to St. Petersburg more than 30 years ago bringing the life experience of a northern transplant and a Caribbean immigrant.
Before long, he was immersed in church and community life and organizing everything from a tennis academy for inner city youth to a Tampa Bay West Indian Association.
Admirers point to the role he played in founding the James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center in the city's Midtown, the reopening of a closed school to serve teenage mothers, and his efforts to increase black membership and participation in the local Roman Catholic Diocese....
08/19/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday's unannounced onset of the demolition of the city's Pier took many off guard.
It was, after all, a significant step in the long-delayed project that felled one mayor and has vexed Mayor Rick Kriseman, who heralded a new start early in his term with music, speeches and special guests.
Yet there was no fanfare heralding the chomping of heavy equipment. A formal announcement wouldn't come until Wednesday, taking the form of a community invitation to commemorate the doomed 1973 inverted pyramid....
08/18/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — After a decade of planning and four years of delays, the city's iconic Pier started coming down in chunks as crews began its demolition Tuesday.
A large backhoe tore into the southwest corner of the Pier's first floor retail section that was added in a major 1980s renovation. Another backhoe scooped up the debris, which was later hauled away.
The work marked the beginning of the two-month demolition of the inverted pyramid, which opened in 1973, as well as the start of its $46 million redevelopment as Pier Park. By February, the Pier approach and the Pier head, the area that surrounds the inverted pyramid, will be taken out....
08/14/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — With key steps seemingly in place for the new pier, including demolition and a design, city officials are moving ahead with what they're calling the Pier Approach Project.
The plan envisioned as a show-stopping entryway to St. Petersburg's latest version of its municipal pier will be financed with $20 million in tax revenues from its booming downtown.
Starting at the western edge of Pier Park — the new landmark to replace the inverted pyramid — the project will encompass areas of Bayshore and Beach drives and is expected to include such elements as a grand entry, pedestrian art promenade, an art bridge, an open-air market and two restaurants....
08/11/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A month after hopes were dashed for an immediate start to demolish the Pier, city officials said Tuesday they have the necessary federal permit to begin.
By mid February, all traces of the Pier's approach, the bait shops and the controversial 1973 inverted pyramid will be wiped from downtown.
"It's served its time, just as many have before it," said resident Shirley O'Sullivan, referring to the past 102 years of three different public piers on the waterfront....
08/06/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The holdup in demolition of the inverted pyramid could soon be over.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that it could issue a permit to tear down the 1973 structure as early as next week.
It has been nearly a month since the City Council approved $5.2 million for initial work on a replacement project — Pier Park — and a construction fence went up to signal imminent demolition....
ST. PETERSBURG — The outpouring on Facebook reverberates with gratitude and sadness from parents whose children Dr. Peter Orobello treated as recently as a few weeks ago and as far back as a quarter of a century.
"Watching my baby girl dance to music may sound like no big deal, but we will never forget that she can only hear the music thanks to Dr. Orobello," says one post.
"He was my son's doctor. So kind and compassionate," reads another....
08/06/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Those who drafted the code of conduct for the city's libraries appear to have left little to chance.
No doing laundry in the restrooms, sleeping, or carrying in bed bugs or lice. There are admonitions against playing audio equipment at a volume that others can hear and leaving bags unattended. In addition, traditional library etiquette stands: No loud talk.
A small band of part-time security guards helps keep unruly patrons in check. The budget for this year, accounting for three city employees and one temp, will run about $51,000....
07/23/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Demolition of the Pier is on track to begin in less than a month, ending an embarrassing delay caused by the absence of a needed permit.
The news was delivered by Public Works Administrator Mike Connors, who two weeks earlier had said all permits were in place to begin tearing down the shuttered inverted pyramid.
But the work was halted when the city discovered that demolition could not begin without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers....
07/23/15 Human Interest
Minson Rubin recalls signs that forbade and corralled "coloreds."
Gwen Reese remembers asking her mother with the persistence of a 6-year-old why they couldn't go into a Central Avenue movie theater where Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was showing.
"Because negroes can't go to that theater," her mother answered.
"But why?" the young Gwen asked, again and again....
07/14/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — A construction fence rose at the Pier on Monday, signaling that demolition is imminent, starting with the iconic and controversial inverted pyramid.
But that work could be weeks, even months away because of what appears to be a misunderstanding about a required federal permit. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says nothing — including planned removal this month of metals and fixtures from the inverted pyramid — can occur without the agency's permission....
07/09/15 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The pier, a project that divided families and neighbors and inspired a voter referendum that delayed the project at least two years, is officially under way.
The City Council on Thursday approved $5.2 million for the project, including contracts with the designers of Pier Park, its construction manager and the firm that will tear down the inverted pyramid that has stood for more than 40 years....