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St. Pete City Council raises eyebrows at $14M in Pier ‘enhancements’

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St. Petersburg council members had mixed reactions Thursday to a progress report on the new Pier. They generally liked proposed “enhancements,” including family friendly recreation facilities. But the $14 million price tag for those enhancements was another issue. So far, the city has earmarked about $12.5 million for the Pier approach and about $33.6 million for the Pier itself. Pinellas County had agreed to kick in about $20 million, bringing the price tag to $66 million. If all the enhancements…

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Baseball Santa has been benched in St. Pete

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For almost two decades, the holiday light fest at Straub Park celebrated baseball as well as the season with a display showing Santa Claus playing baseball. But last year, baseball Santa was sent to the dugout. And he’s not back this year. It appears that, at least for the future, Santa has been benched. City officials say baseball Santa’s disappearance has no hidden message about the future of the Rays in St. Pete. “Oh, no, no, for heaven’s sake, it’s…

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James Museum to be one of few in south devoted to Western art

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When the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art opens in about a year, it will help cement St. Petersburg’s place as a destination for art lovers from around the world. The prospect has caused a buzz in the art world and Thursday morning, Emily Kapes, art collection curator at Raymond James Financial, gave a short preview of what’s coming to local art lovers. The event was sponsored by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. Tom and Mary James, the donors…

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St. Pete takes first steps to comprehensive plan to handle climate change, rising seas

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About a year ago, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman signed an executive order establishing an office of sustainability. Now, a group of experts from New Orleans, Miami, Boston and Tampa Bay have come together in partnership with St. Petersburg officials to set strategies that can be used in developing a comprehensive plan to answer the problems presented by climate change and rising seas. The two-day conference, spearheaded by the Urban Land Institute of Tampa Bay, did not limit itself to…

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St. Petersburg plans major overhaul to city marina

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City officials are looking for residents to provide ideas for updating the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina. They’re holding a public session from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N. “We’re taking the first baby step,” project manager Rick Hermann said. “We’re at the very beginning of this.” The docks at the marina were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are starting to show their age, Hermann said. Also, the demand for docks…

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On House floor, Gus Bilirakis honors Tuskegee Airman from Pinellas

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Congressman Gus Bilirakis took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday to honor the life and service of Tuskegee Airman Willie Rogers from Pinellas County. Rogers, the oldest remaining Tuskegee Airman from the original 100th Fighter Squadron, died in November. Bilirakis, a Tarpon Springs Republican, represents Florida’s 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of northern Pinellas County. Bilirakis’s full remarks: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life and service of an American hero from St.…

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Cross-Bay Ferry, St. Pete bike share off to strong start

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If the first month is any indication, both of St. Pete’s experiments in novel ways to get around will be a success. According to figures provided to the St. Petersburg Council on Thursday, a total of 7,491 passengers rode the Cross-Bay Ferry during November. And riders have taken 1,378 trips using St. Pete’s bike share program. Both programs are a way to relieve traffic congestion for residents while also providing another attractor for tourists. The bike-share program, run by Coast…

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