ST. PETERSBURG — Almost three years ago, during February — Black History Month — 2018, Mayor Rick Kriseman stood in front of St. Petersburg’s main library on 9th Avenue N and declared it would get a new name.
The library, which also needed renovations, would honor America’s first African American president, Barack Obama.
Friday, on the cusp of Black History Month, it happened: a sign that said “President Barack Obama Main Library” adorned with the city’s rainbow pelican arrived at the facility on a flatbed.
The installation at the library, located at 3745 9th Ave. N, was meant to again coincide with Black History Month, which begins on Monday. Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirby said an unveiling ceremony for the new sign and name will take place next month.
The new name accompanies a $6 million renovation of the 55-year-old facility funded by Penny for Pinellas sales tax revenue, which includes adding parking spaces, ADA-compliant restrooms, asbestos abatement, fire protection, HVAC improvements, an upgraded rear patio and outdoor gathering space, and reconfiguration of interior spaces with new programming areas.
The initial plan was to install the sign at the completion of the renovations, which haven’t yet begun because the Penny money wasn’t available until 2020. Instead, the sign will kick off the renovations.
“We have the sign, and rather than have the sign sit in storage until renovations are done, we decided to go ahead and install it now,” Kirby said.
Times staff writers Ellen Clarke and Tony Marrero contributed to this report.