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Their heart's in it now

(ran NS S editions of Tampa Bay and State)

First, the city of St. Petersburg paid a New York-based public relations firm to publicize Tampa Bay to the baseball community.

Now, the city is using the imagination of neighborhood kids.

After reading about North Shore Elementary School's pupils and their unique booklet promoting the Tampa Bay area in Friday's St. Petersburg Times, city officials ordered 50 copies of the newspaper.

City marketing director Richard Hickman planned to send them to influential officials involved in the proposed sale of the San Francisco Giants to a Tampa Bay area group.

Hickman also wanted to send out copies of the booklet _ titled The Giants Will Love Tampa Bay Because . . . _ but found it would be too expensive.

"This shows a side of Tampa Bay that may not be apparent," said Hickman, holding the original heart-shaped, 67-page booklet, "that our youth are creative and excited about the Giants coming to Tampa Bay."

The booklet, containing drawings and brief statements, is a creation of fourth- and fifth-graders at North Shore. Guided by teacher Diane Leheup, the children responded to negative comments concerning the Tampa Bay area that were made by San Francisco media.

The children drew several pictures of the Dome and urged the Giants to come here, saying the weather and fans were better than in San Francisco.

Hickman read the story Friday and wanted it distributed. He called the Times and North Shore principal Ken MacKenzie.

"It's unbelievable," said MacKenzie of the city's plan. "I think it's just super. . . . We've received a lot of reaction because of it."

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