St. Petersburg Floats Central Avenue Makeover

Central Avenue in St. Petersburg stretches almost seven miles between Tampa Bay on the east side of the Pinellas peninsula to the Gulf of Mexico on the west. And the city of St. Pete has begun discussions to organize the diverse businesses along it.

According to Paul Stellrecht, the city's economic development coordinator, the conversation has just begun.

"There is no plan at this time to do anything, be anything or create anything," explains Stellrecht. "The impetus for what we call a Conversation on Central was to bring together all interested businesses along the avenue from bay to bay.

"There are so many different unique, diverse areas along the Central Avenue—and all of them are doing their own thing. Business owners who had never met the business owner across the street. So we wanted to come together and introduce all these areas to each other and kind of get an idea of what some of the assets of the avenue are.

"There are a lot of unique activities going on along the avenue," continues Stellrecht. "The idea was to first explore the feasibility of a collective, collaborative vision while maintaining each area's individual characteristics. And the meetings revealed that it is possible."

According to a news release, approximately 190 participants have gathered during four meetings to discuss the avenue's options. Guest speakers include members of the city's Police and Safety department, its Transportation and Parking department, business owners from the Grand Central Main Street district and representatives from the Artist Enclave of the 600 Crislip Arcade block.

Improvements discussed include better lighting, coordinated curb appeal and security upgrades, to name a few.

"For me it's an exciting opportunity because we just don't know what's going to become of it," says Stellrecht.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Paul Stellrecht, City of St. Petersburg

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