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Sewage dump? What sewage dump?

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Gulfport residents and city officials weren’t happy with the City of St. Petersburg in early August when the city dumped 15 million gallons of untreated sewage into Clam Bayou resulting in Gulfport’s beach being shutdown due to unsafe contamination levels in Boca Ciega Bay.

City Council was bombarded by residents lamenting there wasn’t enough communication between the cities regarding the dump.

But now Gulfport is praising St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman for his collaboration with neighbors to clean up the shared 49th Street corridor serving as a boundary between the two cities.

According to the Gulfport Gabber, Kriseman and Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson, along with other city officials in both municipalities, joined forces last week to collect some 671 pounds of trash littering the main thoroughfare between the two cities.

“For a second year we had a great turnout and a real showing of community spirit from residents and officials on both sides of the 49th Street Corridor,” Henderson told the Gabber. “This spirit and the relationships behind it are worth keeping. It makes both our cities stronger, and keeps us connected in a positive and personal way.”

Kriseman posted the Gabber article to his Facebook page Thursday writing, “St. Petersburg and Gulfport, working together to keep our shared corridor clean.”

But his post was met by a reminder that two months ago, the cleanup story wasn’t quite so positive.

“Keeping the corridor clean? Will your next photo opp feature you scooping medical waste from Clam Bayou? You haven’t even apologized,” wrote St. Pete Pier activist John Rose.

Though his statement is probably indicative of those critical of Kriseman’s administration, it was the only comment levied against the mayor’s efforts.

In the Gabber article, Gulfport leaders said they were confident the collaboration along 49th Street would continue to grow.

“We have seen great progress since the event last year in terms of businesses doing a much better job of ensuring their properties are kept clean,”Gulfport Neighbors President Margarete Tober told the Gabber. “We don’t see nearly the amount of litter that we saw in the past. As well, multiple businesses have worked to rehab, spruce up and/or improve their physical properties. Much of all of this is due to the efforts of Gulfport Police Department Community Resource Officer Zack Mills and his St. Petersburg Police counterpart, Community Liaison Officer Caran Patrick.”

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 Patch.com 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 janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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