Should changes be made to I-175 and/or I-375? Should they be brought to grade and transitioned to boulevards? Should they be brought below grade and capped (built over) to help bridge the gap between South St. Pete and Downtown?
While I-371 and I-175 both provide easy access into downtown, the current downtown mobility study by Forward Pinellas indicates that there are many advantages to lowering them to grade as boulevards. Having listened to residents and business leaders in our community, I will support this approach if emergency services are not adversely affected. Removing these “dividing lines” between neighborhoods will be a catalyst for economic development and an enhanced quality of life for residents in neighborhoods outside of downtown.
How does our community connect St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Beaches to the Brightline termination station in Tampa by 2024?
We have multiple options to connect our community to the Tampa Brightline station. Two that immediately come to mind are dedicated express shuttles similar to PSTA’s 100x service, and expansion of the Cross-Bay Ferry service. As a member and current Vice Chair of the PSTA Board, efficient and appealing connectivity will continue to be a priority in my second term.
Do you support the plan to lease our City Marina to a developer to operate and make improvements instead of keeping the marina under city management and make the repairs ourselves?
Our downtown waterfront is considered by many to be the crown jewel of our city. We have a responsibility to protect it and ensure that it remains accessible to all. That includes our waterfront operations such as the Municipal Marina. I support maintaining the City’s current operations and funding the needed improvements without privatization through an outside developer.
What specific impact have you already made in St. Pete toward equitable economic development?
During my first term I have focused on making changes to the South St. Pete CRA commercial grant, microloan and microfund programs so that more of our small business owners can access these resources for their needs. My work in bringing the SunRunner bus rapid transit system to fruition will boost equitable economic development through efficient transportation for workers and future transit-oriented development, which can lead to better job opportunities. Also, in 2019 I brought forward a resolution that passed unanimously to add a category to our Small Business Enterprise program for LGBTQ+ owned businesses.
How should the city balance historic designation with property rights?
I have asked City Staff and members of Preserve the ‘Burg to focus more on educating property owners about historic designation to encourage more owner-initiated designations. This proactive, positive approach would be more effective than attempting to force designation against the property owner’s will. The city should facilitate these discussions and ensure the process protects our historic places without limiting the rights of private property owners.
What are your priorities for both sustainability AND resiliency (taken separately) for the City? What are 2 examples that you see as the City’s best opportunities to address climate change impacts?
As climate change becomes a larger and more pressing issue, we need to protect our city by focusing on sustainability and resiliency. My top priority for sustainability is to accelerate our implementation of the Integrated Sustainability Action Plan. My priorities for resiliency are to update and strengthen our disaster plans, and to ensure that future development includes a greater focus on our changing climate. Two examples of the City’s best opportunities to address climate change impacts are to plan for sea level rise and to address social inequities so that the effects of climate change aren’t falling disproportionately on those least able to prepare and recover.