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?
I wouldn’t be opposed to making changes to I-175, whether it be in the form of bringing it to grade with a transition to a boulevard, or below grade. However, I think this idea warrants further exploration via the FDOT or a Highway Task Force (as suggested by one of the potential Tropicana Site re-developers). What we have, as is evident elsewhere around the country, is a neighborhood that was segregated by the building of this highway stretch. I’d fully support such a plan if it would serve to successfully reincorporate South St. Pete and Downtown by converting this back to a boulevard, and not be at the detriment of the hospitals, university, businesses, or existing residents. On another note, I haven’t seen convincing evidence for the removal of I-375. In the same light as my answer above, if further exploration of this plan by transit officials suggested an overwhelming benefit to the residents and businesses, I would be in favor of exploring such a plan.
How does our community connect St. Petersburg and the Pinellas Beaches to the Brightline termination station in Tampa by 2024?
I think the most logical and swift solution would be to extend the PSTA SunRunner BRT line to the Brightline termination station in Tampa. This line could be authorized to use the shoulder on I-275 and have limited stops along the way in order to expedite service.
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?
No, I do not. I would like to see the City make improvements and minor redevelopments to the marina. I would be open to having a management contract with a local, experienced marina operator if that was fiscally wise for the City to do so.
What specific impact have you already made in St. Pete toward equitable economic development?
From a business perspective, I have been an integral part of a local optometry practice and optical (which is a Chamber member) that has expanded to a second location here in St. Pete over the last few years. We have seen our initial practice and the new location grow significantly, even in the midst of a pandemic. Together, both practices employ a dozen employees and drive in close to 2 million dollars in annual business. As a future City Council member, I look to make significant, equitable economic development within our city and surrounding region. With a background in finance (BA in Finance from USF St. Pete), I am very eager to get to work on behalf of our residents and businesses.
How should the city balance historic designation with property rights?
I live right next to a historically designated neighborhood and have lived in other historically designated neighborhoods within our City. I have also worked in businesses within historically designated buildings here in our great City. I do believe there is solid economic and community value to such historic designations for specific residential and commercial properties. However, I don’t think that those designations should always override the rights of the individual 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?
Sustainability relates to how St. Pete can be a leader in reducing fossil fuel usage and our larger impact on the environment. In that regard, I will champion expanding solar energy and multimodal transportation to reduce the amount of CO2 St. Pete puts out into the atmosphere. Resiliency, on the other hand, is how St. Pete will prepare itself for rising sea levels and other climate change effects. One of the first things I will do on Council is spearhead a citywide environmental disparity study to figure out what neighborhoods in St. Pete are at risk of not just rising waters but increased temperatures, and negative air quality. Then, we can target efforts like tree planting and native gardens to mitigate climate change in the most effective way possible.