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By JON WILSONTimes Staff Writer
Businesses near Tropicana Field think the old name was confusing, and they're ready for something more exciting.
ST. PETERSBURG - Reaching for a more exciting image, one of the downtown business associations is changing its neighborhood's name from something dull to ... well, something sharper.
It's the new moniker of the area whose centerpiece is Tropicana Field, but includes an array of restaurants, clubs and small businesses interested in a higher profile and new energy.
For several years, the neighborhood has been called the Dome Business District.
That name derives from Tropicana Field's cover - a domelike apparatus that contributed to one of the sports venue's earlier names, ThunderDome.
Trouble is, there's also a nearby area called the Dome Industrial District, a separate entity city government hopes to develop for larger, commercial enterprises such as plants for light manufacturing.
The geography has caused confusion.
And the other trouble is, the words "Dome Business District" convey excitement roughly equivalent to the joy of strolling to an office copy machine.
"It was time for a change," said John Warren. "I think the Edge represents a lot of positive attributes."
Part of the thinking is that the name suggests something on the cutting edge. It hints of imagination and something stimulating.
"I like it," said Regenia Wade, a neighborhood planner who works with neighborhood and business associations.
"It came about because of them being on the edge of the Grand Central District. They want to see some of the things happening in Grand Central happen in their area," Wade said.
The Edge's formal boundaries are Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street to 28th Street, between Fifth avenues N and S, according to the city's list of neighborhood and business associations.
Among the area's longtime enterprises is Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill, 1320 Central Ave. Some spots recently opened include the Hampton House of Jazz, 1113 Central Ave.; Pickled Franks, a restaurant across the street at 1114 Central.
Just to the west of the Edge, Grand Central has been undergoing a transformation the past few years. The results have been new businesses, a spruced-up neighborhood and, in general, a trendier image along its section of Central Avenue and the First avenues N and S.
Warren said his district would like to go in the same direction. Part of it includes adopting the "urban village" approach, a concept a new generation of urban planners advocates.
It means establishing a neighborhood of mixed uses - retail, residential and entertainment all in the same few blocks or even on the same street, for example.
To help make that happen, establishing better parking and transportation is a must, Warren said.
"I think a parking garage is not needed right now. We wouldn't push for that. But we would be strong on the acquisition of sites for parking" to accommodate needs of business people, he said.
"We need a parking program that recognizes there is more than baseball," Warren said.
Ideally, a parking program could be tied to regular bus or trolley trips through the neighborhood, Warren believes.[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]
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