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Postal site ranks high in rebirth of Midtown

Residents near 22nd Street S hope the area's renewal into a business district brings a retail store that sells stamps.

By JON WILSON

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 6, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Residents around 22nd Street S need a place to buy stamps and establishing one should be a priority, a neighborhood leader says.

"That's a major issue," said Homer Jordan, new president of the 22nd Street S Redevelopment Corp.

It's also an old issue.

Residents of Midtown -- formerly called the Challenge area -- often have complained about the lack of easy-access postal facilities in their neighborhood. The South Carrier Annex at 1750 16th St. S doesn't sell stamps and the Gulfwinds station at 4222 22nd Ave. S is too far for some residents to walk, critics say.

Jordan also would like to see bus shelters placed along areas of 22nd Street S served by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

"We are really focused on 22nd being our business district," Jordan said. "We want to produce more activities, more events to give the public more access to different things.

"You have a lot of people, especially the elderly; they have been here so long. They're not outspoken. They just sit back," Jordan said.

The redevelopment group also is seeking a state Main Street designation, which would bring specialized renewal help. Jean Claude Petit, newly hired Main Street manager, was introduced at the group's meeting Tuesday night. Petit will start work this morning. One of his first jobs will be overseeing progress of the Main Street application, due in Tallahassee late next month. A decision is expected in August.

Originally from Trinidad, Petit has worked in St. Petersburg for the past five years, developing after-school educational programs in the Childs Park and Challenge areas.

The 22nd Street initiative is his first redevelopment project.

City Hall appears to be supporting the quest for a neighborhood retail store where stamps would be sold, and postmaster Tom Pawlowski is a proponent of improved access to postal services.

Mayor Rick Baker has raised the issue with the postal service, said Herb Polson, the city's administrative services director.

A postal contract unit at 4001 Sixth St. S is an example of the type of facility that could serve the 22nd Street S neighborhood, Polson said.

"It's just a site to do business. It's a contract for services with an existing vendor," Polson said.

There are seven contract units in St. Petersburg, but none within walking distance of 22nd Street.

Old-timers recall post offices at various locations on 22nd Street during its years of peak activity.

City cross-reference directories show one existed as early as 1928. Substation No. 4 moved from block to block during the 1930s through the 1970s, usually offering services in existing businesses such as a variety store and, later, in a radio repair shop.

The substation went out of business after 1978, the directories show.

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