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'God's waiting room?' Try 'great place to live'

Long known as a haven for seniors, St. Petersburg is now being recognized as one of the nation's most livable cities.

Published March 3, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - Once mocked as "God's waiting room," St. Petersburg has now been named one of the country's best places to live.

A non-profit organization dedicated to promoting progressive and innovative cities selected St. Petersburg as one of the 26 most livable communities in America.

"St. Petersburg has traditionally been seen as a great community for senior Americans," said Robert McNulty, president of the Partners for Livable Communities. "It has now become a great community for all Americans."

The agency chooses cities about once a decade for the honor. The other locations selected in 2004 will be revealed shortly before an April 20 awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Among the factors that made St. Petersburg stand out were its parks and recreational facilities, McNulty said. He also applauded the city's focus on the arts, the various options for downtown living and its active neighborhood associations.

A delegation including Mayor Rick Baker and Don Shea, president of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, will travel to Washington for the awards ceremony.

Shea said the distinction was gratifying because this is the last time Partners will give out the honor.

"We already know it's a great place to live," Shea said. "It's nice to know that the rest of the world thinks so, too."

[Last modified March 3, 2004, 01:45:07]

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