A visiting Urban Land Institute advisory panel – comprised of professionals from across the country – studied, gathered input, and evaluated St. Pete’s world-class waterfront in late September. Their draft report offers some compelling ideas about the future of St. Petersburg.
A few highlights:
- The waterfront needs better connectivity, so pedestrians and cyclists can move along the water with more ease.
- Better transportation options, such as a streetcar system, would provide residents and visitors better access from the waterfront to the rest of downtown.
- The City of St. Petersburg’s staff and political leaders should consider creating partnerships with private entities, broadening the skills and knowledge needed to take the area forward in a thoughtful way.
Several ULI panelists talked about how “business improvement districts” in other cities have worked well. In such a district, businesses pay a tax that can help cover the cost of projects and services, while creating a framework for public and private interests to work together. It seems like an idea worth exploring.
The ULI panel report is part of the City of St. Petersburg’s efforts to get a wide range of input as it creates a Downtown Waterfront Master Plan, working closely with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
B2 Communications is working with the City to raise visibility for the input process. In addition to gaining media attention for the ULI visit, our efforts helped draw about 300 residents to a public input session at USF St. Petersburg’s campus in early September.