tampabay.com

Community supports coverup

The site of a former adult store on Fourth Street South will be painted with hopes of moving out some memories.

By JON WILSON
Published September 27, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - A former adult store that loomed on Fourth Street South for at least two decades is about to get a makeover, much to the pleasure of some of its neighbors.

A community paint party at what was Fourth Street Books & Video, 1427 Fourth St. S, will take place 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

A section of adjacent Newton Avenue has been closed for the public to partake in street bowling and basketball. Food is on the agenda, as are chores besides painting. Organizers have mentioned tree-trimming.

"If you can close down a porno shop in your neighborhood, that's a good thing," said Ginger Brooks, a crime watch coordinator in Central Oak Park, which is across town.

Brooks also is a member of the 34th Street Federation, a group of business people and residents who try to tamp down illegal activity along the busy commercial corridor. She participates in Herman Wrice drug marches and a group called Turn Around St. Petersburg, which targets problems throughout the city.

"People are happy to see (the store) go," said Willeen Kelly, the Bartlett Park Crime Watch coordinator. "Now it's vacant. We want to paint over the signs and move some of the memory out."

A "Neighborhood Day" has been declared for Bartlett Park as part of the occasion, which includes a yard sale 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Concord Missionary Baptist Church, 13th Avenue S and Highland Street.

Mary Ann Lynch, a neighborhood rehabilitation specialist who has done much work in nearby University Park, bought the building this year. She couldn't be reached early this week to comment on her plans for the building.

The store had operated since the early 1980s. It had generated few police calls, but its presence upset some neighbors, while others said they were indifferent.

In 1999, the store's owners sued the city, trying to get the city's adult use zoning ordinance declared unconstitutional in federal court.

A settlement in 2000 had allowed the store to remain open under several conditions, including construction of a 6-foot fence between the business and the neighborhood to its west.