We are grateful to the Tampa Downtown Partnership for hosting our crew for a tour of Water Street, and we appreciate the Looper Trolley and the Cross-Bay Ferry who provided our transportation. It was a great way to better understand downtown Tampa and to see the impressive investment and beautiful, leading-edge design in Water Street.
St. Petersburg and Tampa are very different cities with different strengths and needs. But there are lessons both communities can learn from the city across the Bay.
The Tampa Downtown Partnership receives about $4.3 million per year from the City of Tampa through special taxing district in the downtown area. These funds are used to provide clean and safe programs, placemaking efforts, events, marketing, transportation initiatives, heightened security and grants for small businesses. The St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership receives about $10,000 from the City of St. Pete, but we don’t currently provide traditional urban management services beyond administrative support for the Looper Trolly.
We are considering adopting a similar approach to Tampa to help manage increasing concerns from downtown residents, workers and visitors. As our city continues to evolve it is important that we stay ahead of any trends that could make downtown St. Pete feel less safe or welcoming.
During our Downtown Development Summit on February 28, we’ll hear from Dan Biederman who helped to transform dangerous and neglected areas of Midtown Manhattan in the 80s and 90s. There are lessons there for St. Pete. It is important that we learn from the successes and mistakes of other cities as we continue to navigate our unprecedented growth and enhance the things that make St. Pete special.