I had hoped there would be a refreshing change in the City administration as the focus moved from down town to all of St. Pete. The past few Mayors and their administrations have been fixated on "downtown".
A few years back, there was some talk about moving City Hall out to Central Avenue and US 19. Part of the thinking was the move would help expand City Hall's view of the City. The hue and cry was deafening. The site is now a Wal-Mart.
Since Mayor Kriseman lives out West and there was some campaign rhetoric about paying more attention to the West side of town, I thought there was some hope.
So far not much.
Given the fact that there is likely more retail volume in one day in the Tyrone area than there is in a month in downtown there is little outward support at making the area more "vibrant" as the planners like to say.
The view from City Hall gradually fades to grey as you move from 16th Street to 34th street and fades to opaque after that.
Even with a new large movie theater complex in the works, the West side of St. Pete cannot be ignored for much longer.
Retail development, which is from the early seventies, is still in good shape, but is certainly not what the millennials are looking for; and if you watch the shop turnover in the Tyrone Mall you can see the beginnings of the struggle.
It's easy to look out West from City Hall and say things are great out in the Tyrone area. But a closer look will reveal a lot of unoccupied commercial real-estate and a relatively stagnate housing stock.
Actions on the south side and the Skyway redevelopment are strong steps to redevelop these areas, but now is the time to begin working with West side neighborhoods, businesses and the large retail centers in the Tyrone area to proactively produce a 10 or 20 year master plan that prevents the area from slipping into the downward spiral that could occur.
It's time for some progressive action by the City before the Tyrone area begins to fade. The planners need to step in and the City needs to spend some money to create a master plan for a more livable, walkable and enjoyable environment.
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