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Issue: Januaruy 2016
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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. Each Saturday of the month features a different tour. Besides our upcoming Downtown, Waterfront and Historic Kenwood tours SPP has some great upcoming special tours, including:  Architectural Bingo in the Historic Old Northeast on Jan. 16 and Allendale on Jan. 30. 

And don't forget to check back out the SPP calendar as info about SPP's first bicycle tours, coming this spring, will be posting soon and space will be limited!

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 Executive Director for SPP!

As many of you know, this past summer we regretfully said good-by to SPP's first executive director, Monica Kile.  Our position is only part-time and Monica moved on to a full time position. She remains nearby so we expect her to continue working almost as hard with us but now for free as a volunteer!

SPP is also lucky to  have found another energetic individual, Allison Stribling, to take over the reins and to become SPP's new executive director. We welcome Allison and look forward to her efforts to keep SPP growing and to her contributions to helping  keep St. Pete special! Look for Allison at our upcoming porch party or What Makes St. Pete Special program.
Preservation Ordinance - Historic District Debate
A 2015 Top Local Issue
We thought a great way to love one's traditional neighborhood would be to have it designated as a historic district. Not all agreed and this past summer was the great historic district battle as city council debated whether to change the process allowing for neighborhoods to apply for historic district status. City Council took a step forward to improve the process although not as far as we wanted them to go.  In their year end wrap up, Saint Peters Blog rated the issue as one of the top local issues in 2015.  Click here to read the article! 
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).

A Look Across
 the Country in 2015 at Preservation Wins & Losses Includes a Local Loss

The National Trust for Preservation, at the start of each year, takes a look back at some of preservation's more significant wins and losses. You can click here to read the 2015 list.  Sadly, our area makes the list on the loss side - with the demolition of the Belleview Biltmore Hotel. Click to read the last Tampa Bay Times story about the white queen of the gulf. Ironically, the developer for the hotel site, JMC Communities, was also the developer for the property where St. Pete's historic Soreno Hotel was demolished 20+ years ago.

Welcome 2016 Porch Party
January 22nd!!
Join SPP for its first porch party of 2016 in the stunning 1925 Mediterranean Revival styled home of Jeff & Dianne Swain. Our generous hosts will be opening their home, one of the gems of the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood, to SPP for this fun event. SPP porch parties offer a chance to see a beautifully restored and decorated home, to enjoy some good cheer and to hear what's happening with keeping St. Pete special! You will be sorry if you miss it!
Date: Friday, January 22
Time: 6:00-8:30 pm 
Where: 506 20th Ave. NE.
Cost: $10 - For SPP members, registration includes two drink tickets. Cash bar for non-members.  Event includes  tasty light appetizers.
A New Program Series Kicks-Off Feb. 24!
With the new year comes a new SPP program series, "Keep St. Pete Special." Mark your calendar for the evening of February 24 for the program, "What Makes St. Pete Special!   

We love the 'Burg because it is special - a feel we believe comes from the mix of our waterfront, our historic neighborhoods and a downtown that retains a scale and walkable feel.  But we are in a boom and during boom times it is easy to forget how fragile a community's sense of place may be. And our city seems lost when it comes to identifying what is important to keep and how to say no to misplaced or out of scale development.

SPP is excited to have former Mayor Rick Baker introduce this program series by offering his keen insight on what makes the 'Burg special. Plus there will be some of our city's "most exciting doers & shakers 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.  What is your favorite neighborhood or building?  Is it one that stands out like the Vinoy or one that is more of a secret like Lang's Bungalow Court? And be sure to visit the SPP FaceBook page to see the posts on what makes St. Pete special!

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   
Preservation Update 
The Good, Bad & Downright Ugly!  
They were a pretty awesome duo, the cops on the block so to speak protecting what is special to St. Pete, the ones who had to do the political dance to try and make the 'Burg a preservation friendly city even when the city politics weren't so friendly.  Who are we talking about....Kim Hinder and Aimee Angel (pictured above) who for years served as the city's preservation staff. Aimee left her city position at the start of the summer and Kim left with the start of the new year, both for new private sector jobs. A tip of the hat to them both and may they find success in their new endeavors at keeping other places special.

The year ended with a mix of news for the 800 block of Central Ave., where the historic Union Trust Bank building has proudly stood for 90 years. In approving a new  development for the block the city ok'd the demolition of the 1930's portion of the building which SPP had urged the developer to give further thought to reusing. The good news is the 1920's portion of the building, in being renovated and reused, will anchor the new project at the important corner of Central and MLK Street. Read about it here!   

The end of the year also saw success in City Council designating the Cade Allen home pictured to the left as a local landmark.  SPP worked with the Allendale neighborhood to bring the application forward as the home was in foreclosure and its future up in the air.  After initially opposing the landmark application, the new owner, Nick Ekonomou, agreed with the landmark designation.  SPP looks forward to continuing to work with Nick as he has also purchased downtown's historic YMCA building. Read about his Y plans here.

And, the downright ugly news....pictured to the left is the Central National Bank and the taller Pheil Hotel buildings, located on the SW corner of 4th St. & Central. In the 1960's these beautiful buildings were covered over and hidden behind a metal grating, a "modernization" that does little harm to the buildings, largely leaving the historic fabric intact and waiting to be again unveiled.

It is buildings like these and their context that make St. Pete special. Around these building are an incredible aray of historic buildings, including the Snell building & arcade, the Open Air Post Office, the McCroy and Kress 5 & 10 buildings and a short distance away the Princess Martha and Tramor Cafeteria (Hofbrau House). Added together, these pieces of the past create a sense of place - a quality that attracts tourists and residents but a quality that can easily be lost,

The Central National Bank & Pheil buildings present a wonderful opportunity for a project to combine their reuse with new development on the remaining portion of the block - much like what was just approved for the 800 block of Central. Instead, the block owners are seeking demolition. We will soon discover if our mayor and council have the will and foresight to keep St. Pete special. 

Thank you for your efforts to  Preserve the Burg!
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 - yes we will have a tent where we will be asking people to tell us what makes St. Pete special! Email us if you would like to volunteer.

What: Localtopia ($5 entry donation suggested)
Where: William's Park - 330 2nd Ave. N.
When: Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 am to 5 pm
For More Info: Localtopia Website
Historic Homes Workshop 2016
It's not good because it's old,
it's old because it's good!

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 a weekend including workshops, tours, a kick-off party 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. 
The event draws crafts people from around the country participating & teaching in the weekend workshops, culminating in a hands-on restoration. This year the restoration will take place at the historic Seminole Heights Methodist Church. You can join in for part or for the entire weekend. 
What: Historic Homes Workshop 
Date: Feb. 19th - kick off party; Feb. 20 & 21 - workshops/tour
Where:  1706 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL
More Info, Detailed Schedule, Cost:
Workshop Website