Rocky revival

There are small signs that 22nd Street is awakening.

The St. Petersburg Clay Co. occupies the old Seaboard railroad freight depot at 420 22nd St. S.

A proposed industrial park's first stage will comprise 19 acres wedged between Fifth Avenue S, Interstate 275 and 22nd Street. The city is buying property and clearing land for it. Joe and Ruby Lindsey, pictured on this page with family members, are virtually the only residents remaining. Three Lindsey generations have lived there.

At least one company is interested, said Mayor Rick Baker, but he said he cannot name the firm yet.

Baker says he wants to renovate the Manhattan Casino building and refurbish the empty Jordan Elementary School. Plans call for a performing arts venue in the Boys and Girls Club (the old Royal Theater), clinics and a pharmacy on the Mercy Hospital site, and an "achievement center" with classrooms and job information.

Clinic construction, expected to incorporate the historic hospital building, will start before year's end, Baker said. The achievement center also should break ground this year, he said.

Both Baker and Goliath Davis, deputy mayor for Midtown, expect projects like the Mercy work and the new Hope VI housing development to generate more activity, possibly retail. Hope VI replaces Jordan Park, the city's first public housing.

"When we repopulate (Hope VI), there will be people living there who need services. The clinic (at Mercy) may spark the need for another pharmacy," Davis said.

"One of the things we're looking for along 22nd is a mixed-use development," Davis said, where buildings have businesses downstairs and places to live upstairs. Modern planners call such an arrangement an "urban village."

Sort of like what 22nd Street used to be.