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Issue: February 2016
In This Issue
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Upcoming Events
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Walking Tours
Walking Tour guests in front of Post Office
SPP's tour season is in full swing with tours being offered every Saturday morning thru April and a monthly Friday lunchtime tour. Click here to reserve for the upcoming lunchtime tour on Feb. 5 or click here to reserve for the March lunchtime tour.

Each Saturday of the month features a different tour. Besides our monthly DowntownWaterfront and Historic Kenwood tours SPP has some great upcoming special tours, including:  Historic Neighborhoood Stroll - Bahama Shores on Feb. 20 and Historic Uptown on March 12 (it's Grand Prix weekend and if you are looking for a non-race activity come with us for a leisurely stroll!). 

Tours are free to members and just $5 for non-members. The tours offer all a chance to see some of the best of the 'Burg's architecture, learn about the city's history and to take in some of our special historic neighborhoods. 
New Resource
 for Preservation
The city's website has a new feature that makes it easy to view the city's various designated historic resources, including local and national historic districts and individually listed or eligible to be listed properties. All of the info is contained in a map that can easily be accessed at this link.  Hint, once you open the link, at the top of the map page on the right are some clickable symbols - clicking on the "layers" symbol allows one to pick which types of historic resources will be displayed on the map.
It's fun & easy to use.
Wear the Look... Get Your SPP Tee-shirt!!
Get your Preserve the 'Burg or Movies in the Park tee-shirt now so you too can dress like a hipster from the 'Burg!

And we've made it easy to do so! Shirts can be conveniently purchased online or at the Chamber's new downtown retail store where locally made items are for sale. Use the convenient link below to make your online purchase thru St. Pete Threads - we keep them stocked with all sizes for women or men! Or visit the Chamber store at the corner of 1st St. & 2nd Ave. N. (across the street from Sundial).

Recent News Articles of Interest

The Pheil Hotel & Central National Bank buildings appeared in the news with the application for their demolition being submitted. Read the Tampa Bay Times article by clicking here. Whether the application will be granted is an issue likely to play out over the next several months and it will also be an issue that you can expect to see again  in the news.

The always insightful Linda Saul-Sena, former Tampa city council member, wrote recently in Creative Loafing about the difficulties of balancing new development and sense of place. You can click here to read her article, "Transforming Tampa Bay: Blight vs. Balance."
Linda notes one of the areas where that debate is very much in play is downtown St. Pete's 4th Ave. N.  SPP has long advocated that better protections, maybe a historic district designation, need to be put in place to keep the special character and feel of the 4th Ave. N. corridor.  The boom has been taking pieces out of this downtown entryway that for decades had managed to maintain a sense of place.

Two neighborhood "wins"  were also reported recently.  One involved a city project that would have adversely impacted the 'Burg's first local historic district, Roser Park.  Read it here.   The other, while in Snell Isle, involves an issue occurring more & more frequently in the city's traditional or historic neighborhoods: purchase of and demolition of an existing home followed by construction of two or three new homes on the same property. Read about what happened here.

SPP is excited to kick off its new program series, "Keep St. Pete Special" on the evening of February 24 with former Mayor Rick Baker! Mark your calendar and make your reservation - we are expecting a crowd and space is limited!

Indeed, St. Pete is special - with our waterfront, our historic neighborhoods and a downtown that retains a human scale and walkable feel.  But we are in a boom and during such times it is easy to chip away the pieces that collectively create our city's sense of place. And, unfortunately, our city seems lost when it comes to identifying what is important and how to say no to misplaced or out of scale development.

We thought long & hard about who should kick off this  series and who could best stir the creative discussion on what makes us special . Rick Baker is that person - he served as the 'Burg's mayor for eight years with an emphasis on neighborhoods, he is a keen student of St. Pete's history (having authored From Mangroves to Major League) and he has a unique perspective on what makes the 'Burg special.

In addition to Rick, the program will offer some of our city's most creative individuals offering their views on what makes St. Pete Special in bursts of less than 90 seconds each! And we want to hear from you too! The final piece of the program will be a chance for you to tell us why our city is special - with a focus on the built environment. 

Reception with complimentary appetizers and cash bar at 6:00, program at 6:30 pm.
What: What Makes St. Pete Special?
Date: February 24th 
Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM
Where: St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 2nd Ave. NE. (parking is available in the adjacent Beach Drive, formerly Dolphin, parking lot on the Pier approach). 
Cost: $5 for SPP members; $10 for non-members   
Action Alert - Your Help Needed to
Keep St. Pete Special!!
One of the reasons St. Pete is special is because many of our city's historic buildings still contribute to the downtown landscape - from small commercial storefronts like the Studio@620 -to beautiful churches like St. Peter's Cathedral - to public treasures like the Carnegie/Mirror  Lake Library  - to the icons of the '20's like the Vinoy Hotel. 
A beautiful piece from the past in the heart of downtown at 4th St. & Central Ave., is now threatened with demolition!. The pair of buildings,  hidden since the early 1960's behind an aluminum screen facade, are the 1915 Central National Bank and the city's first high rise hotel, the Pheil. The beautiful historic buildings remain under the screen.  Click here to read about their history and to see more photos.

Our city has a can allow the demolition or designate the buildings as local landmarks, thereby, putting in place a process to protect them and to enable the owner to take advantage of preservation tax credits for their rehabilitation.  And unlike many other preservation battles, this one can be a "win-win" - with reuse of the historic buildings and new development on the rest of the block, most of which today is simply used for parking.

We have heard the claim time and again that history must go because the building is in such bad shape or too expensive to redevelop or its interior space is not up to "modern" standards. In fact, that was said about the Vinoy prior to its renovation! Today, we know it wasn't true about the Vinoy and its not true about the Central National Bank or Pheil Hotel buildings.

One of the reasons the Vinoy was saved was because of the public outcry that bolstered city officials to stand up to do the right thing. It's time again for people to speak up! Tell Mayor Kriseman and city council to keep St. Pete special and to save and reuse the Central National Bank & Pheil Hotel Buildings!

We've made it easy... click here to send your own email to the mayor & council or go to the SPP Action Alert Page with a preprinted message you can easily send! 

Advocating for our special places is not cheap. Please consider making a donation to help fuel our Keep St. Pete Special campaign. Click here to send your special donation -                                  thanks!
Some of Our Favorite
Upcoming Events!!

Yes, Localtopia in Williams Park, the event featuring all things local is almost here! Join in the fun on Saturday Feb. 6 and enjoy the celebration organized by our friends at Keep Saint Petersburg Local. There is music, food, crafts, local businesses, local beer and SPP.  Come see us at our tent and tell us what makes St. Pete special!

Historic Homes Workshop 2016
We don't recommend taking a trip to Tampa too often but this is one of the times we do! Join Wood Window Make Over for all or part of  the Feb. 20-21 weekend for the Historic Homes Workshop with tours, workshops and more! The Historic Homes Workshop was started to encourage historic preservation, rehabilitation, and sustainability by promoting local small businesses and craftspeople while sharing expertise and knowledge.   
Celebrate Black History Month  
With a Tour & Soul Food Lunch!

The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum & the African American Heritage Association are offering a tour along 22nd St. S., the "Deuces" followed by a soul food lunch on Saturday, Feb. 27. The tour will be led by the duo that does it best, former Times journalist & author Jon Wilson and Gwendolyn Reese, president of the Burg's African American Heritage Ass'n. Learn about an important part of our city's history & see such landmarks as Jordan School, the Royal Theater and Mercy Hospital. You can either join the free walking tour or enjoy the tour and lunch.  Lunch reservations required ($15). Call the museum for reservations, 727 323-1104.

Our good friends at the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Ass'n are busy getting ready
for their 3rd annual "Pinot In the Park" Festival on Sat. evening, April 2. The enchanted evening takes place in Kenwood's idyllic Seminole Park, under the stars with a premium selection of pinot noir paired with a Pacific-Northwest style salmon bake. Some of the 'Burg's hottest chefs will be preparing daring side dishes to tempt and delight you. Get your ticket by clicking on the above link.

If it's February it can't be long until May Movies in the Park - the best small event on the waterfront!  Mark your calendar now for the Movie Announcement Party - April 14. Come to the party and be among the first to find out the movies to be shown in May and to see the unveiling of the May 2016 movie poster by our favorite local artist, Carrie Jadus! The party takes place at one of downtown's fun spots and Movies in the Park sponsors, The Ale and the Witch. If you are interested in being a sponsor, send us a message or give a call, 727 463-4612.