One of the most historical areas of St. Petersburg is the 22nd Street S corridor – the “Deuces” – once one of the most vibrant streets in the city’s black community.
The street lost its vibrancy and became almost deserted. But recently, there’s a kind of rejuvenation going on. But with that rejuvenation has come a certain tension between the people who live in the area and those who are moving in.
Now the city is trying to create a bond between the old and the new to allow redevelopment to satisfy both sides. At least that’s part of the idea behind the Warehouse Arts District/Deuces Live joint action plan.
The plan will have its official kickoff Wednesday evening. On Thursday, there will be a trolley and a walking tour of the area.
“Some people call it gentrification. Some people call it development. Some people call it job development,” said Alan DeLisle, a city development administrator. “Some people question who the jobs are for.”
DeLisle agreed that there is a certain tension between members of the Deuces Live, which seeks to develop the area while preserving its heritage, and the Warehouse Arts District, which spans more than the 22nd Street corridor. The district represents many of the businesses that have moved into the area in recent years.
“It is very important for us get those different views on the table,” DeLisle said.
The idea of developing the Deuces, which is in the center of the south St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area, has talked about for awhile. But now it’s becoming a reality and a firm plan needs to be mindful of all stakeholders, but must especially benefit those who live in the area and want to work there.
Wednesday’s kickoff, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Morean Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S, is designed to formally announce the plan. But it’s also a chance to get those ideas and voices from all sides about what the community needs as it develops into a vibrant commercial corridor.