St. Pete Beach officials are seeking the public’s help to determine the future of the Corey Avenue district where residents and guests are welcomed to events, such as the Corey Avenue Art Festival, which took place Jan. 26-27.
ST. PETE BEACH – City officials want to hear the public’s ideas on how to revitalize the Corey Avenue district in St Pete Beach.
A workshop is scheduled on Thursday, March 21, 6 p.m., at City Hall Commission chambers, 155 Corey Ave. Property owners, business owners and city residents are encouraged to attend.
“We would like the public to come out and participate. We’ve had a lot of outreach so far and we will continue that up into the 21st,” City Manager Michael Bonfield said at the commission’s March 12 meeting.
Officials will discuss the future of the Corey Avenue District, including planned improvements. They will share ideas on ways to revitalize the district and identify catalyst projects.
Over the recent weeks, city commissioners have had several discussions on the Corey Avenue revitalization.
Community Development Director George Kinney said he benefited by recent visits to redevelopment areas in Florida, where governments have expedited administrative approvals for projects and relaxed regulatory standards.
Discussion continued at the March 12 meeting. Commissioner Jim Parent said the commission might have left the impression at a previous meeting that they are going to make improvements to the Corey Avenue area because of savings from contracting with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement protection.
“I don’t think this is the case because we have been talking about doing Corey Avenue for two years,” Parent said.
He said he thinks it’s important that residents know the city has a “big plate” of capital improvement projects that are under consideration for funding.
Those projects were recently presented to the commission after a lot of research, Mayor Steve McFarlin said.
Commissioner Marvin Shavian said at the Feb. 26 meeting that he feels strongly about moving forward with the Corey Avenue improvements, such as streetscaping, possibly in September, after hearing that the savings for the current fiscal year is $433,000.
Bonfield presented a lengthy list of proposed projects at the commission’s Feb. 26 meeting, such as the community boat dock and Pass-A-Grille Way design and engineering services. He recommended that $400,000 be transferred with savings from the police budget for the current fiscal year and $900,000 be transferred from the 2014 fiscal year budget into the capital improvements program.
Bonfield said at the March 12 meeting that talking about Corey Avenue improvements before the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council finishes its economic development analysis is probably premature.
“I don’t think we really ought to get too much into that level of detail until June or so at least,” Bonfield said. “We want to look at the whole picture.”
The workshop will include discussion on a lot of topics besides streetscaping.
Several commissioners have said that holding a workshop will be beneficial because they will hear each other’s ideas; the Sunshine Law prohibits them from discussing city issues among themselves outside of their public meetings.