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Carter G. Woodson African-American museum announcement expected tomorrow

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman will make an announcement Tuesday morning regarding the Carter G. Woodson historic African-American History Museum.

The pending announcement comes after federal officials visiting St. Pete put plans to sell the building where the museum is located. Purveyors of the museum were told in January that the building would be sold in six months, leaving the museum’s future uncertain without a landlord.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the U.S. Department of Housing reportedly told Mayor Rick Kriseman there needs to be “demonstrative public support for a plan” to sell. In addition, even if a decision is made to sell the property, it must remain an African-American museum.

The building’s owners, the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, still wants to move on a sale to pay for other housing projects in the city.

Kriseman’s staff has not indicated what his announcement will be, but there has been speculation that the city was considering purchasing the building where the museum is located.

The issue has gained citywide attention. A protest grew during the January vote to sell and included some city officials such as St. Pete City Council member Steve Kornell.

Kornell later went before his colleagues to ask that the council look into the viability of designating the building as a historic landmark. The board voted during a February meeting to workshop the idea further. His idea was that if the building were a historic landmark, there would be certain provisions in place to preserve the location’s history before demolishing or renovating the building.

A potential consequence of that, it was pointed out, could be more expensive red tape for the city to follow should they decide to buy the property.

The museum hosts rotating events and exhibits showcasing various components of African-American history in St. Petersburg. It also presents regional and national history as well. The museum’s lush, picturesque back yard is also used as event space for things like weddings and banquets.

The mayor’s announcement Tuesday will be at the Midtown museum located at 2240 Ninth Avenue South at 10:30 in the morning. Members of City Council and representatives from the St. Petersburg Housing Authority are also expected to attend.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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