The decision by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s administration to award the Callaloo Group to take over the historic Manhattan Casino last month was not exactly met with universal praise in the community – even amongst the mayor’s most fervent supporters in South St. Pete.
Although the item was removed from the St. Petersburg City Council’s agenda, a number of citizens came before Council members and Mayor Rick Kriseman Thursday to express discontent with the decision to lease and operate the historic Manhattan Casino to the Callaloo Group. Leading Callaloo is Ramon Hernandez, operator of Pipo’s Cuban restaurants, who intends to offer a “Floribbean” fusion restaurant at the Casino.
They insist it isn’t political. On Wednesday, St. Petersburg House Democrat Wengay Newton, along with two other religious figures based in South St. Petersburg, blasted the Rick Kriseman administration for what they believe was an emphasis on gentrifying Midtown, the predominantly black section of the city.
Local activist Gina Driscoll is holding a fundraising mixer next week in her bid for St. Petersburg City Council. The reception is Aug. 10, beginning 6 p.m. at Harborage Marina, 1110 Third St. S in St. Petersburg. The event will offer appetizers and beverages.