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For your early consideration, here is an eyeful of concerns some of your constituents have advanced. These folks are among St. Petersburg's grass-roots opinion leaders, so you can bet their ideas won't go away. Here's to your busy next four years!
By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 28, 2001
We are looking for the continuation of the police and safety protection we have had in the past. We are looking for a resurfacing of our streets and the development of new businesses coming into our area. We think that south St. Pete is the best kept secret in St. Petersburg.
Promote more jobs for the people, and real jobs. Some jobs promote something that the people can have, and with some benefits. Because of the part-time jobs the Dome has to offer, there are no benefits there, and it's seasonal.
I'd like for the mayor to help us meet the goals and the city's plans of the neighborhood association. Help us get a neighborhood family center at the McLin Pool bathhouse site. Make sure the pool has year-round heating and bleachers. Make sure the land required for the new Campbell Park Elementary School is purchased.
We have enjoyed an outstanding neighborhood program under Mayor Fischer, and if we could just get a continuation of the cooperation and programs that we have had under Mayor Fischer, I think that most of the neighborhood associations would be very pleased.
I would like the next mayor to be a critical, demanding seeker of excellent performance and accountability. I would like the downtown administration to realize that there is a west side with all of the problems, predominantly traffic at Tyrone Boulevard, which keeps worsening. I have not seen any effort on the part of the city to improve the west side of the city.
I would like to know when our tax dollars are going to quit going to the downtown and south side areas and when we're going to start getting our fair share.
Lakewood Terrace has been talking about having not all the money put downtown and satisfying more of the neighborhoods. I would really like to see more focus on neighborhoods other than the Challenge neighborhood. We are out there paying taxes too and we would like to see improvement in our neighborhood.
We would like some stepped-up patroling and then other programs. We are hoping for continued cooperation between the associations and the city. Improve our infrastructure, sidewalks and sewer system. We are looking forward to working with the city on our approved traffic calming and beautification plan.
Deal with the water problem realistically and truthfully, and I would like to see the next mayor maintain and help keep the historical buildings, streets and neighborhoods in this city, and enhance those historical areas. I would like to see the mayor work on development and bringing more jobs to our community, and I really would like to see the mayor not just give lip service to the neighborhoods but truly work through the neighborhood associations.
We hope the new mayor of St. Petersburg continues with the beautification project of planting the trees along our streets. It makes Ninth Street especially look so beautiful, also along the interstate.
Continue our neighborhood program. It is very useful to us. Our neighborhood is developing our neighborhood plan. It is going to make our neighborhood 100 percent better by upgrading the lighting system, upgrading the sidewalks and getting rid of rundown houses.
I would like the mayor to continue with the tradition of Mayor Fischer, that is to work collaboratively with the neighborhood associations as well as the business associations. ... And I think that the new mayor needs to bring the city together. The water issue is a crisis. ... Public safety. The speed in the city is atrocious. The infrastructure. Bayfront Medical Center. The Police Department is a major issue.
I think we need a focus on the south side. We've had a tremendous amount of focus on downtown and the northeast. I would like to see the rejuvenating of some of the shopping areas that have just gone down the toilet, increased maintenance of the streets, things like sidewalks to make the area a little bit safer in that respect. Expanded role of the recreation centers.
As a 19-year resident of the city, I am aware that the population is becoming increasingly younger and mobile, enjoying the (Pinellas) trail and cycling around our beautiful city. My experience navigating traffic on foot and by bicycle has taught me that the city needs to educate the public about right-of-way laws. St. Petersburg ranks as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation for pedestrians, and that needs to change.
The most important thing the mayor can do is get us out of the water monopoly, basically open the city water up to competition. Reduce restrictive building codes.
My personal interest is concern with the Police Department, that we have enough police officers. I am happy with the officers that we have, but I would just like to see good, strong continuity there. I am concerned with the traffic. I think we've got an excellent city and I just want to see it continue.
The big thing is the water. That is our biggest problem right now.
I think the most valuable thing the mayor could do is facilitate neighborhoods' taking their power back. To help the neighborhoods reach their vision, as a partnership, that we do it together. The city is the people.
I'd like to see the mayor keep the trains running on time. ... That's all I need from government, that the business of the city is run smoothly at the lowest possible expense. ... The mayor is the one who sets the tone.
The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at time, so please take this new position one day at a time. Work on initiatives that have been started that have not yet been completed and just focus on making our city the best it can be for all of our residents to live, work and play in. I think there are a lot of revitalization efforts and a lot has been accomplished, but there's a lot of work left to be done, particularly in neighborhoods that have long been neglected.
We need to facilitate and be more business friendly to the small businesses in our community. The first thing the mayor should do is streamline the process for permitting and make the departments more business friendly. ... Secondly, in no uncertain terms, the mayor needs to put a stop to the proposed light rail system down Fourth Street ... that is without a doubt an issue that none of the businesses that we represent or that belong to our association want going down Fourth Street.
Let's get off the dime on the one-way versus two-way streets. We've talked about it for years, and most everybody seems to agree we should at least do a couple of streets as a test. ... Really get behind and participate in and promote the Vision 2020 process we're undertaking.
I have never understood why there hasn't been more traffic focus on 40th Avenue N. I think you could have a policeman sitting out there all day and he could pay his salary writing tickets. ... Continue the neighborhood grant program; simplify it and make it easier and more accessible.
We need code enforcement that actually takes care of the issues. We have several houses that have had code problems for years and they've never been solved. ... Traffic calming is important to us, particularly 40th Avenue N. ... We don't want (the neighborhood's community police officer) to go away, and we feel every neighborhood should have a competent officer in the area.
Do something about the water shortage other than sit up there and tell us we got a problem, and don't kowtow to Tampa Bay Water. ... Speed up storm sewer replacement. We're leaking so much water, it's pathetic.
I'd like to see (the mayor) beef up the Police Department a little more. The streets do need a cleaning; we're so far behind in our street cleaning. We have a lot of alleys in here the city needs to cut.
Ignore the childish and divisive rhetoric I found in the editorial pages of the St. Petersburg Times. ... Seek out neighborhood leaders and studied counselors, and not wait for people to come to a public hearing.
Gain control of the staff. I've gone in with a number of items critical to our neighborhood, critical to the city, and they get turned over to staff and they die. ... I'd like to work with the mayor to establish seawall insurance, a tax people would want to pay (for seawall maintenance). ... We need an ingress-egress route on Venetian Isles. At high tide combined with a storm, we can't get in or out. Elevate some intersections along the Overlook and Connecticut route.
Add more greenery throughout the city, such as in the medians and along roadways. It would take the industrial look out of 66th Street N. ... What about (installing) the street with the metal arm extending out 90 degrees? That would eliminate some of the wires overhead.
I would like to see a completion of the BayWalk project, continuing with the sidewalks and the beautification of downtown St. Pete.
I'd like to see an improvement in the businesses in south St. Pete, because most of the businesses all have big fences and burglar bars on the windows. I'd like to see south St. Pete get the same recognition that north St. Pete gets. I'm sorry, there are some good people who live here on the south side of St. Pete.
We are certainly very interested that the new administration keep up the neighborhood grant program. We've used that several times and think it's a good program. ... The bridge onto our island is old and the weight-bearing capacity is low and we need to get it replaced. It's in the plans. We'd certainly like to see that program come to fruition.
The No. 1 thing is when we're going to get that terminal building built. It's way past due already for the groundbreaking alone. ... The mayor should see that the city does a better job of marketing the airport. Some of the colorful brochures they put out don't mention the airport at all, or there is only a vague reference to it.
My main thing is that we want them to get busy with that industrial park and get some jobs down there for those people. They are working on it, but it's a little bit slow. We also need some help from the city in the business area of 22nd (Street S) and 18th (Avenue). Also, we need some help getting some additional parking spaces without going through all those hoops.
The mayor should economically pursue, to commit to the economic empowerment and development of those African-American businesses in the target area, in direct conjunction with identifying and pursuing all available state and federal grants. ... We want (the mayor) to immediately prioritize, unlike (his or her) predecessor, consummating the agreement by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to allow the Southern Christian Leadership Conference national Martin Luther King festival of bands to be annually and permanently hosted in the Dome, starting in 2002. ... To commit by action and deed to a 15- to 20-year capital improvement project for 34th Street S (U.S. 19) that will place it on a commensurate status, aesthetically, to that of U.S. 19 N from Clearwater to New Port Richey.
Traffic speeders. ... Sidewalks. People are realizing if they're walking on the streets someone's going to get hurt, so sidewalks (are important). Some people are going to have to be forced to put in sidewalks. ... Neighborhoods, community policing, and neighborhood parks (should be priorities).
As far as I'm concerned, as long as they follow in Mayor David Fischer's footsteps, I'll be really happy ... perhaps even looking into federal money ... or some kind of grant money to help struggling neighborhoods like University Park to do things like streetscaping and adequate lighting. One area I would like this individual to focus on is boarded-up, vacant properties where people are just sitting on the properties and not doing anything with them. I don't think we should allow that one bit in our downtown area.
I would like to see hexagon block sidewalks reinstalled in every urban neighborhood in St. Pete where they once were originally laid. ... When a sincere homeowner pulls a building permit and gets an inspection, the window of time the homeowner has to wait for the inspector to show up is 8 in the morning to 5 at night, and there's really no way a responsible homeowner can afford to take a whole day off from work and sit around waiting for an inspector.
My perspective would be to acknowledge the significance of the small businesses all over town. To make an attempt to reach out and see what their needs are. And to give them encouragement, a thank-you for being here. In view of this, if the person puts a high importance on the small businesses, (the mayor) will create a city hall environment that serves these people and does not represent an obstacle they have to jump over, but gives them assistance.
We need to ask the mayor to team with city legal staff to determine a process and enforce our ordinances. We need to change the permitting process to keep permitting from going on year after year where sites are not progressing. The consequences are that in my neighborhood, I've had a site that I've (monitored) for four years, and I can't do anything about the exterior. The city needs to expect the best and not settle for mediocrity. We have been courting businesses at the expense of neighborhoods.
I would personally like to see a stronger working relationship where the citizens could be more involved with future planning. I'd like to see citywide use of reclaimed water. I'd like to see more programs for our children. I'd like to see continued city support to neighborhoods.
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