01/16/18 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — International artist Janet Echelman may have fulfilled her $75,000 feasibility contract with the city and previewed her billowing, parasol-inspired sculpture for Spa Beach, but for some, key questions remain unanswered about the $3 million piece.
One concern: How will Echelman's net sculpture withstand fierce storms? The near miss of a Category 4 hurricane is still a recent memory....
Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat to watch the news and saw a report she didn't want to believe.
In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump reportedly questioned why the United States needs more immigrants from Haiti. When the discussion turned to Africa, Trump reportedly referred to African nations as "s---hole countries" and said he wants more immigrants from countries such as Norway....
01/11/18 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — There has been a change to the list of six artists who will compete to install their work in St. Petersburg's new Pier District that is expected to open in 2019.
Copenhagen and Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein, known for his "social benches," declined an invitation to submit a proposal. The pier public arts committee, which selected the six finalists with the help of consultant Ann Wykell, learned that Hein requires $20,000 to submit a design. Some of his pieces can run from $800,000 to $1 million. His smaller ones start at $100,000, but the committee decided that the project would need at least three and the cost would practically exhaust the public art budget for the $76 million Pier District....
ST. PETERSBURG — After 25 years as proprietors of Portofino Italian Ristorante near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Anna and Michele Fischetti have put their cherished business in the care of another couple.
Chris and Patricia Conley have never owned a restaurant, but bring relevant experience and are being helped by the Fischettis during the transition. The new owners also will keep the traditional Italian menu and inherit the Fischettis' 10 or so employees....
01/05/18 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, a popular Sanibel Island restaurant with locations on Captiva Island and Fort Myers Beach, will now be able to claim a site in St. Petersburg.
Mayor Rick Kriseman announced Friday that he has selected the restaurant for one of two prime spots at the $76 million, 26-acre Pier District that will open in 2019.
The new Doc Ford's will occupy the former Pelican parking lot, a waterfront site adjacent to 25 public boat slips....
01/03/18 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — Curious to see what Tampa-born artist Janet Echelman has envisioned for the Pier District?
On Tuesday Echelman, whose studios are in Massachusetts, unveiled images of the parasol-inspired, LED-illuminated sculpture that will float above Spa Beach.
The net sculpture, made of the same material that is used for astronauts' spacesuits, and anchored on pylons, will cost nearly $3 million. Onlookers should expect "gentle billowing" on an average day, the internationally renowned artist said. ...
01/02/18 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — It will cost about $3 million for the city to acquire the work of world-renowned artist Janet Echelman for the new Pier District, city arts leaders learned for the first time on Tuesday.
Echelman presented a budget, along with renderings of a colorful 350-foot-span sculpture that Mayor Rick Kriseman hopes will be an iconic landmark glowing with LED lights as it floats above Spa Beach....
12/27/17 Real Estate
ST. PETERSBURG — Residents in Jordan Park's Historic Village have begun to move as the St. Petersburg Housing Authority prepares to demolish that section of the 237-unit public housing complex near 22nd Street and Ninth Avenue S.
Charles and Frances Cohens were among those who learned that they would have to move from the one-story, craftsman-style buildings that date to the original construction of Jordan Park in 1937....
12/26/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG —The unveiling of international artist Janet Echelman's ideas, and the cost estimate to install one of her billowing sculptures at the pier, have been delayed until the new year.
City architect Raul Quintana said the lag will not slow construction of the Pier District, which is underway.
"It really does not have any bearing on the pier project," he said, though he conceded that the city could save money if the sculpture is installed "while the contractor is still mobilized."...
PINELLAS PARK — The morning was quiet on the wooden patio overlooking the field of tents.
A table stood piled with cellphones charging. A man hosed down a walkway nearby. Kevin Arneman and Rick Peete sat in plastic chairs, remembering.
"Never ever think that you are above becoming homeless," said Peete, 61.
"I went straight from the middle class to being nowhere," said Arneman, 46....
12/21/17 Economic Development
Christ United Methodist Church, whose illuminated cross rises next to City Hall, is poised to capitalize on downtown's development boom.
It has put its parking lot up for sale. The church, which has embarked on an ambitious rebirth strategy following the arrival of a new pastor 17 months ago, says the property at First Avenue N and Fifth Street is drawing widespread interest....
ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.
The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello's extensive collection of furniture, pottery, tile, metalwork, lighting, photography and other decorative arts from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries....
ST. PETERSBURG — Radio Station WRXB, a constant in Tampa Bay's African-American community for more than four decades, offering a staple of R&B, gospel and community news, is no more.
The radio station, once black-owned, abruptly went off the air on Nov. 14.
It was a shock to Richard C. Guess, 67, host of the weekday show "Undignified Praise and Worship."
"I walked into the office this morning and everything was disassembled and in boxes," he wrote on Facebook. "No warning, no courtesy phone call, no thank you for your service. Nothing."...
12/07/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council readily approved another phase in funding for the $76 million Pier District on Thursday.
The funds included $18 million for work to complete what had been the original pier project and an additional $2.8 million for enhancements. The council, which had approved an initial $17.6 million in June, also authorized $800,000 in contingency funding.
Thursday's unanimous vote by the six of eight council members present puts the total construction price for this area of the Pier District — the pierhead to Spa Beach — at $39 million. It's the guaranteed maximum price from Skanska USA Building, the pier's construction manager, to cover the cost of building the area of the project before it was expanded into a 26-acre district....
12/05/17 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG —The pier will take a further step forward Thursday, when the City Council is expected to approve another step in funding for the now $76 million project.
Council members will be asked to vote on $18 million for remaining work to complete the original pier project, an area that stretches from the pier head and includes Spa Beach.
"This is the basically the last piece of the pie for the replacement of what was the pier," said city architect Raul Quintana, referring to the widely recognized inverted pyramid that was closed in 2013 and demolished two years later....