St. Petersburg, Florida
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|St. Petersburg, Florida|
|City of St. Petersburg|
Downtown St. Petersburg in August 2008
|Nickname(s): "St. Pete"; "Florida's Sunshine City"|
|Motto: "Always in Season"|
Location in Pinellas County and the state of Florida
|Incorporated||February 29, 1892|
|Re-Incorporated as City||June 6, 1903|
|• Type||Strong Mayor-Commission|
|• Mayor||Rick Kriseman (D)|
|• City||137.6 sq mi (356.4 km2)|
|• Land||61.7 sq mi (159.9 km2)|
|• Water||75.9 sq mi (196.5 km2)|
|Elevation||44 ft (13.4 m)|
|• Density||3,967/sq mi (1,532/km2)|
|• Urban||2,441,770 (17th)|
|• Metro||2,870,569 (18th)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||33701, 33703-33705, 33710, 33712-33713, 33715|
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. As of the 2013 census estimate, the population was 249,688, making St. Petersburg the 4th most populous city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat (the city of Clearwater is the county seat). St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, after Tampa, composed of roughly 2.8 million residents, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state. It is also a popular vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists.
The city is often referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents. St. Petersburg is governed by a mayor and city council.
The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to mainland Florida to the north, with the city of Tampa to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay, and to Bradenton in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Interstate 275), which traverses the mouth of the bay. It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off I-275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively. The Gandy Bridge, conceived by George Gandy and opened in 1924, was the first causeway to be built across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa cities without a circuitous 43-mile (69 km) trip around the bay through Oldsmar.
With an average of some 361 days of sunshine each year, and a Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine (768 days), it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City". Due to its good weather and low cost of living, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, although in recent years the population has moved in a much more youthful direction. American Style magazine ranked St. Petersburg its top mid-size city in 2011, citing its "vibrant" arts scene.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Arts and culture
- 6 Sports
- 7 Government
- 8 Education
- 9 Media
- 10 Infrastructure
- 11 Notable people
- 12 International Relations
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The city was co-founded by John C. Williams, formerly of Detroit, who purchased the land in 1875, and by Peter Demens who was instrumental in bringing the terminus of a railroad there in 1888. The first major newspaper to debut in Tampa Bay was the St. Petersburg Times which established in 1884. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some 300 people.
A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city. When Demens won the coin toss the city was named after Saint Petersburg, Russia, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit (a hotel built by Demens). The Detroit Hotel still exists downtown, but has been turned into a condominium. The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921, formally Hotel Cordova and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926.
Philadelphia publisher F. A. Davis turned on St. Petersburg's first electrical service in 1897 and its first trolley service in 1904. The city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs (1862–1942), a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of fish each day.
Early 20th century development
St. Petersburg was incorporated into a city in June of 1903. With this transition, the development of the downtown waterfront had dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 which opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping. Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By then the city's population had quadrupled to a population of 4,127 citizens.
In 1914, the Tampa Bay area was one of the first Floridian cities that fell in love with baseball tracing its roots from Tampa and St. Petersburg. The former mayor of St. Petersburg, Al Lang, had invited the St. Louis Browns to move their spring training into the city. Taking place in the same year, the airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated, generally considered the first scheduled commercial airline flight. The company name was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, and the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat. The Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. Jannus Live, a local music/entertainment venue on Central Avenue in downtown, is also named after him. Soon after, St. Petersburg's first library opened on December 1, 1915 which still operates till this day as the Mirror Lake Library.
The 1920's in St. Petersburg was big due to its major growth brought by tourists. Tourists came from all over by auto-mobile, yacht, and railroad. Travel time from across the bay was cut due to the Gandy Bridge's opening in 1924, helping St. Petersburg increase in tourist numbers and helped grow it into the largest city in Pinellas County. The city also adopted the Mediterranean style architecture brought by Snell Isles founder Perry Snell. An attraction that brought on a great number of tourists and citizens was the Million Dollar Pier which was built in 1926.
Tourists declined by the late 1920's and early 1930's due to the Great Depression. However a short time after the city recovered due to the help of the Public Works Administration with a $10 million dollar investment plan which also helped build the St. Petersburg City Hall.
By the 1940's the city received a large population growth due to World War II. St. Petersburg was a training ground area for the U.S. Coast Guard who had a training base and used the cities Bayboro Harbor, and for the Army Air Force who was selected by the War Department to use the city as their technical service training station. With both stations occupying the city, more than 100,000 troops occupied all hotels in St. Petersburg. After the war, most troops who were stationed in St. Petersburg returned as residents or tourists.
Mid to late 20th century
After in the 1950's, St. Petersburg experienced another population increase with residents. The development of transportation was important in the 50's with the increase of tourists, more auto-mobiles were used in the city and subsequently the public street cars were removed. In 1954 the original Sunshine Skyway bridge opened its first span to link St. Petersburg with Manatee county. A year later in 1955, Highway 19 opened in the city creating a large influx of traffic. By the end of the 50's, tourists and retirees increased in the area.
The development of major transportation continued into the 1960's with the completion of the Howard Frankland Bridge in 1960, creating another connection between St. Petersburg and Tampa. St. Petersburg also received its first stadium named the Bayfront Center which hosted the first professional hockey league in Tampa Bay. A new municipal marina and the Museum of Fine Arts was also built downtown.
St. Petersburg is home to one of the worlds most largest reclaimed water systems that was built in the 1970's which flows 37 million gallons of water per day to provide for customers located through out the city. Development of the first major league baseball team in the Tampa Bay area began in St. Petersburg throughout the 70's which the city tried to encourage teams to be a tenant. With the need of a major league baseball team, designs for a ballpark were first presented in 1983 and construction for a permanent dome stadium began in 1986. The stadium opened in 1990 as the Florida Suncoast Dome, later named the ThunderDome in 1993. After many attempts to attract tenants to the new stadium, major league baseball had gave St. Petersburg a franchise in 1995. In 1996, the dome was renamed a third time to Tropicana Field after naming rights were established with Tropicana Dole Beverages. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays was then established in 1998 after the stadiums renovation and the new team played their first game on March 31, 1998 giving the Tampa Bay area their first professional baseball team.
The city population continued to multiply during the 20th century, booming in the 1940s and 1950s and through the 1970s as the town became a popular retirement destination for Americans from midwestern cities, reaching 238,647 in the 1980 census. By that time, however, the population had levelled off, and has grown by only 10,000 since then. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the population of the city dropped by approximately 4000 residents, while in the same period the population of Florida increased by over two and a half million residents.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 137.6 square miles (356.4 km2). 61.7 square miles (159.9 km2) of it is land, and 75.9 square miles (196.5 km2) of it (55.13%) is water.
Downtown St. Petersburg is the Central Business District, containing high rises for office use, most notably the tallest building in the city, One Progress Plaza. The Tampa Bay Times newspaper is headquartered in the downtown area. The Poynter Institute, which owns the paper, is located on 3rd Street South.
The Mahaffey Theater complex, the Morean Arts Center, dozens of other art galleries, Haslam's Bookstore, The Coliseum, Palladium Theatre, and Jannus Live are among the galleries and cultural venues featured downtown. Several prominent museums are located in the perimeter. Many of them have received notable accolades, including the Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Salvador Dali Museum, the Florida International Museum, the St. Petersburg Museum of History, and the Florida Holocaust Museum. The city hosts many outdoor festivals throughout the year.
St. Petersburg's downtown has been rated among the best in the South. The area's beaches are a 10-mile (16 km) drive from downtown. Jutting a half mile into the bay was the St. Petersburg Pier, a major tourist attraction that offered various activities. The St. Petersburg Pier is currently closed until the replacement is built. "The Lens" design which was chosen by the International Design Competition Jury and accepted by City Council later had its contract terminated by a citywide election during the Summer of 2013. Following this the "Pier Park" was chosen out of the 16 new design teams that submitted work in late 2014 and as of 2015 the Pier Park is set for construction in early 2017. Downtown also contains the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and a downtown branch of St. Petersburg College. The downtown perimeter includes several parks, most of which are waterfront or lakefront. Straub Park is nearly a half mile long, boasts a waterfront location, and is home of the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts. The Vinoy Park Hotel has a bayfront location, a spot on the National Register of Historic Places, and an AAA Four-Diamond rating. It fronts Vinoy Park, which holds music festivals, including the Warped Tour. Nearby is the historic Tramor Cafeteria building, now part of the St. Petersburg Times. The city is connected via the Looper Trolley.
Most of the dining and nightlife can be found downtown on or near Central Avenue or Beach Drive along the waterfront. Venues include Jannus Live and the State Theatre. The active nightlife scene is credited to recent demographic and regulatory changes. In 2010, the city council voted to extend bar hours until 3 A.M., identical to cross-bay "rival" Tampa.
Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, is located in the western part of downtown. Until 2008, the team played its spring training games at nearby Progress Energy Park. This setup was unique, making St. Petersburg the first city that played host to its baseball team during spring training as well as the regular season since the 1919 Philadelphia Athletics. At the end of 2007, there was a debate over a new stadium to be built on the downtown waterfront at the current Progress Energy Park site. This new ballpark would have an overhead sail to cool game-time temperatures and catch rain. Tropicana Field would be demolished and replaced with prime residential and retail space. Completion of the stadium was planned for 2012; however, the proposal has been tabled indefinitely while a community-based organization investigates all alternatives for new stadium construction.
The Wikimedia Foundation had been located in downtown St. Petersburg since its founding by Jimmy Wales. On September 25, 2007, the Foundation announced its move in late 2007 from St. Petersburg to the San Francisco Bay Area.
St. Petersburg has the third-largest dedicated public waterfront park system in North America, with a waterfront park system that stretches 7 miles (11 km) and is used year round for public events, festivals and other activities. In the early 20th century, citizens and city leaders engaged in a long and boisterous debate over the future of the young city's waterfront space, with one side advocating for commercial, port and industrial development and the other side advocating for a long-term commitment to parks and public access to the waterfront. The public access and park contingent won the debate when, on Christmas Eve 1909, the city announced the acquisition of the waterfront land that is encompassed by the waterfront park system.
The city is also becoming one of the largest destinations in Florida for kiteboarding with locations such as Ft. De Soto Park, Pass-a-Grille, and Ten-Cent. St. Petersburg locals such as Billy Parker and Alex Fox have gained a reputation for being some of the best kiteboarders in the world.
St. Petersburg, Florida is home to more than 100 neighborhoods.
St. Petersburg has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), closely bordering a tropical savanna climate, with a definite rainy season from June through September. St. Petersburg, like the rest of the Tampa Bay area, is occasionally affected by tropical storms and hurricanes. However, the last time a hurricane directly struck the city was in 1946. Many portions of St. Petersburg, especially along the bay and in south St. Petersburg, have tropical microclimates. Royal palms and coconut palms, as well as other tropical plants, grow to maturity.
|Climate data for St. Petersburg|
|Record high °F (°C)||87
|Average high °F (°C)||70
|Daily mean °F (°C)||61
|Average low °F (°C)||53
|Record low °F (°C)||25
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||2.3
|This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (September 2015)|
|St. Petersburg Demographics|
|2010 Census||St. Petersburg||Pinellas County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||−1.4%||−0.5%||+17.6%|
|Population density||3,964.4/sq mi||3,347.5/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||68.7%||82.1%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||64.3%||76.9%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||23.9%||10.3%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||6.6%||8.0%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.3%||0.3%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.5%||2.2%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||1.3%||2.0%||3.6%|
As of 2010, there were 129,401 households out of which 15.9% were vacant. As of 2000, 23.85% of households had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.295% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no adult living partner present, and 43.8% were non-families. 35.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.865.
In 2000, the city's population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.24 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
As of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $34,597, and the median income for a family was $43,198. Males had a median income of $30,794 versus $27,860 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,107. About 9.2% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over. In 2010 17.8% of the population was under the poverty line, including 32.2% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, those who spoke only English at home accounted were 88.53% of residents, Spanish was spoken by 4.43%, German by 0.78%, French by 0.72% of speakers, Vietnamese by 0.67%, Serbo-Croatian by 0.52%, and Laotian by 0.51% of the population.
St. Petersburg has the 4th highest rate of violent crime in Florida, and the lowest number of murder/manslaughter offenses of the top 5 violent crime cities in Florida. It is the 58th ranking city in the United States when it comes to violent crime. It is less safe than 95% of cities in the United States. Evidence of the social unrest and the schism within the city, particularly between South St. Petersburg and the rest of the city came with the St. Petersburg, Florida riot of 1996. A recent and notable murder in the city was the murder of Police Officer David Crawford by then-teenager Nicholas Lindsey.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2015)|
|#||Employer||# of Employees||Industry|
|2||All Children's Hospital||3,000||Healthcare|
|3||Home Shopping Network||2,200||Retail|
|4||Fidelity National Information Services||1,900||Financial Sector|
|5||Publix Super Markets||1,700||Retail|
|6||St. Anthony's Hospital||1,700||Healthcare|
|8||Jabil Circuit||1,500||Electronics Manufacturing Services|
|9||Bright House Networks||1,400||Communications|
|10||Transamerica Life Insurance||1,000||Insurance|
Arts and culture
In St. Petersburg alone, more than 1,000 events happen annually. One of the first of many major events of the year that takes place is the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade which takes place in the month of January. The parade hosts many bands facing off in a Battle of the Bands, Drum Line Extravaganzas that has been duplicated throughout other cities. In March the city of St. Petersburg hosts the annual Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The annual Grand Prix is located in downtown St. Petersburg and is the first round of the IndyCar Series. The downtown race usually lasts 3 days with practice rounds, qualifications, and 2 main races.
The month of April brings the most of the cities major events. Bluesfest is the earliest event which is hosted in the Vinoy Park. Bluesfest hosts multiple live blues artists, views of the Tampa Bay waters from the park, and providing drinks and free food. One of the many art festivals, called the Mainsail Art Festival, is free entry art exhibition which takes place at the Vinoy Park, which provides people quality art that they can purchase from local artists.The art festival also provides live music, awards, and food courts. The triathlon event which takes place downtown is hosted by St. Anthony's Hospital which involves a 1.5k swim through Tampa Bay, a 40k bike along the waterways, and a 10k run through the neighborhoods and onlooking spectators. One of the last major events is the Green Thumb Festival is a special event originating in 1986 to promote tree beautification and planting in the city of St. Petersburg which is currently located in Walter Fuller Park.
A major event weekend that takes place in June is the St. Pete Pride weekend. During this weekend, the LGBT community and supporters come to celebrate in the streets with festivals, 27/82 concert, LGBT pride parade, pride in fashion, and so much more. The St. Pete Pride weekend also hosts a variety of block parties, food stands, DJ stands, art festivals, local hosted parties, and the LGBT welcoming center. After the month of July the 4th of July firework celebration invites the citizens to downtown St. Petersburg to watch the fireworks. In November, one of the last major music and food event hosted in St. Petersburg is the annual Ribfest located at the Vinoy Park. Ribfest hosts many festivities that include teams of award winning "ribbers" and other "yummies", family fun zones, drinking vendors, and two stages hosting many well known country music artists.
From the end of November through December starts the holiday events in St. Petersburg. During this time, the city has a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the celebrations. The first event of this holidays is the Santa Parade followed by Snowfest where "glice" skating, toboggan slides, Kiddyland, and other events. Kids can meet Santa and ice skate in the North Straub Park. North and South Straub park are decorated with holiday lights and decorations while the Vinoy Park is decorated with large Greeting cards created by the Recreational Centers in St. Petersburg. On December 31, St. Petersburg has its last event which is called the First Night St. Petersburg where people celebrate the arts from venues across the city.
Around the year, the American Stage in the Park hosts many different shows at the Demens Landing Park. St. Petersburg has also hosted the Miss Florida Pageant 11 consecutive years from 2004 to 2015 until it was moved to Lakeland, Florida.
The city has a children's museum (Great Explorations), Museum of Fine Arts, and will soon host the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (expected to open in 2017), The St. Petersburg Museum of History (which has a full-size replica of the Benoist XIV seaplane and is located near the approximate spot by the St. Petersburg Pier where the first scheduled commercial flight departed), a Holocaust Museum, and the Salvador Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dalí's works outside of Europe, including a number of famous and large-scale paintings such as The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The Chihuly Collection at 400 Beach Drive houses some of the magnificent glass sculptures of Dale Chihuly. There are also various other smaller art galleries and entertainment venues, especially in the downtown area, which has seen a boom in development since the mid-1990s; these include the Mahaffey Theater complex, American Stage (an equity regional theater), The Coliseum, and Palladium Theatre, and the Midtown Royal Theater, The Arts Center, and the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.
The St. Petersburg Pier was a popular tourist attraction, which is now closed (since May 2013 and set to reopen in 2018). The Bounty, a replica of HMS Bounty that was used in the 1962 Technicolor remake of Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Marlon Brando, was permanently docked near the Pier for many years until the ship was sold to Ted Turner in 1986. The Bounty, however, sometimes visited St. Petersburg for the winter in the following years before its sinking in 2012. In 2010, the St. Petersburg City Council voted to demolish and rebuild the pier within two years.
Downtown is the location of the Sundial shopping complex which opened in May 2014. It contains an IMAX Muvico 20-screen movie theater, as well as many (soon to be built) chain restaurants and retail shops, catering to more of a middle and upper class audience. The Shops at St. Pete will also be a nightlife destination, although it is less well attended than the block surrounding Jannus Live, just south of The Shops at St. Pete. Central Avenue, from the Yacht Club west to 8th Street, is also both more vibrant and "organic" than The Shops at St. Pete with the exception of a couple underdeveloped blocks. Restaurants serving ethnic and domestic culinary specialties can be found throughout the downtown area. Every Saturday morning, from October to May, the downtown area hosts a farmers' market in the parking area of Al Lang Stadium (formerly Progress Energy Park). Local vendors sell the fruits of their labors (whether edible or decorative) alongside artists of all kinds including live music.
Due west of downtown on Central Avenue is a district called the 600 Block Arts District. It is made up of Bohemian art and clothing stores. The eve-N-odd gallery is located in the historic Crislip Arcade built in 1925. This recently refurbished shopping arcade is one of 13 original city arcades. Only three are left and only the Crislip arcade is still being used as a place for small businesses to set up shop. Shop in the Crislip arcade for local art and unique wonders. Further west is the Grand Central District (within Historic Kenwood District). It is known for its artistic community, LGBT presence, and hosting of the annual St. Pete Pride parade. Haslam's Bookstore can also be found in the Grand Central District. It is the largest independent bookstore in Florida with over 30,000 square feet. Like its name implies, Old Northeast is adjacent to downtown from the northeast. It is known for its historic status and eclectic architecture. Roser Park is another historic district, located just south of downtown. It is known for its stately architecture and somewhat dubiously for its proximity to the "South Side". Together, these areas comprise the urban core of St. Petersburg.
North of downtown is the Great Explorations Children's Museum, an interactive museum featuring a Children's Village with giant pretend stores, fire house and pet vet clinic, and preschool, science, music, art, and water exhibits. The museum is located next to Sunken Gardens. 4th Street as a whole, from Downtown up to Gandy Boulevard, is home to many restaurants and bars running the gamut from fast food to haute cuisine. This area is called the "Garden District", although as of 2010 this name is not widely in use.
Boyd Hill Nature Park, located on Lake Maggiore, is a 245-acre (0.99 km2) preserve where one can see many of the endangered plants and rare wildlife of Tampa Bay. There is a bird exhibit which houses bald eagles, owls, hawks, and other species.
St. Petersburg is well regarded for its beaches. In 2005, Fort De Soto was rated the number one beach in America by the annual Dr. Beach rankings. TripAdvisor had the beach ranked number one in the nation for 2008. Also noted for its arts community, St. Petersburg regularly places top 25 in the nation among arts destinations. Recently, St. Petersburg has become known and regarded as one of America's most livable cities.
In popular culture
St. Petersburg has been used as a filming location for films over the years.
- Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
- Summer Rental (1985)
- Cocoon (1985)
- Ocean's Eleven (2001)
- Loren Cass (2006)
- Dolphin Tale (2011)
- Magic Mike (2012)
- Spring Breakers (2013)
- Dolphin Tale 2 (2014)
The Tampa-St. Petersburg area is represented by teams in four major professional sports (soccer, football, baseball, and hockey). Two teams, the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball and Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League play in St. Petersburg proper, while the other two teams play across the bay in Tampa. All of the teams represent the entire Tampa Bay metropolitan area.
The Rays began play in 1998, finishing last in the American League's East Division in nine of the first ten seasons they played, including their last year known as the "Devil Rays": 2007. However, in 2008, their 11th season, they held off the Boston Red Sox and won the AL East Division Championship for the first time. In the playoffs, they again faced the Red Sox in the ALCS. They defeated Boston and won the American League Pennant. However, they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2008 World Series.
From their inception until 2008, the Rays played their regular season games at Tropicana Field and their spring training games at historic Al Lang Stadium, formerly Progress Energy Park, giving them the unique distinction of being the only team in Major League Baseball that played its spring training games in their home city in more than 70 years. However, starting in 2009, the Rays have held spring training at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, ending a 94-year streak of springtime baseball in the city.
Tropicana Field, the home venue of the Rays, played host to the 1999 Final Four. St. Petersburg is also home to the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the inaugural race was held in April 2005. The circuit itself is made of downtown streets passing Progress Energy Park, the marina, and a runway in Albert Whitted Airport, and streets are temporarily blocked off for the annual Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series race. The race has been confirmed to return every year until at least 2017. In 2012, the road intersecting Turn 10 was renamed Dan Wheldon Way in memory of Dan Wheldon, who won the 2005 race thanks to a move made on that turn. Wheldon was killed in an accident at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the 2011 season finale.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League began to play at Al Lang Stadium in April 2011, moving from George M. Steinbrenner Field after the 2010 season. They initially were going to play at Al Lang Stadium for 2 years however, on September 12, 2012, the Rowdies announced that they would be play at Al Lang stadium for a further 4 years.
St. Petersburg is the home of many past and present sports icons. WBC and IBF Light Middleweight Champion Ronald "Winky" Wright and IBF, IBO, and WBO Champion Jeff Lacy hail from the area. Ernest Givins, Stacey Simmons, William Floyd, and Pat Terrell are some of the famous retired National Football League players from the city. Shaun King, Marquell Blackell, Aveion Cason, Darren Howard, Tim Carter, Kenny Heatly, and DeAndrew Rubin are some players currently in the NFL from the city. Major League Baseball pitcher Doug Waechter is also from St. Pete, as well as Minnesota Twins pitcher Boof Bonser. Indy Racing League driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon (2005 and 2011) resided in St. Pete prior to his death in October 2011.
The Bay Area Pelicans Rugby Football Club has made their home in St. Petersburg since 1977. The Pelicans play in USA Rugby's Division II competing against teams throughout Florida and the United States. Throughout its history, the teams have won honors as Florida Cup Champions as well as berths in National Championship Tournaments.
The city of St. Petersburg has been governed under a strong mayor form of government since 1993. The Mayor of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg City Council members are elected for a four-year term and are limited to two consecutive terms. Currently the mayor of St. Petersburg is Mayor Rick Kriseman who took office on January 2, 2014 with the legislative body consisting of the eight City Council members representing each of their designated city districts.
Primary and secondary education
Public primary and secondary schools in St. Petersburg are administered by Pinellas County Schools. Public high schools within the city limits include:
Private high schools include:
- Canterbury School of Florida
- St. Petersburg Catholic High School
- Shorecrest Preparatory School
- St. Petersburg Collegiate High School
- Keswick Christian School
- Admiral Farragut Academy
- Northside Christian School
St. Petersburg is home to several institutions of higher education. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg is an autonomous campus in the University of South Florida system. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg serves 6,500 students. Eckerd College, founded in 1958, is a private four-year liberal arts college. St. Petersburg College is a state college in the Florida College System. Also in St. Petersburg is the Poynter Institute, a journalism institute which owns the St. Petersburg Times in a unique arrangement. Also, Stetson Law School is located in Gulfport, which is adjacent to St Pete between the south beaches.
The city's main daily morning newspapers are the Tampa Bay Times as well as its free daily sister publication tbt*. Other newspapers available in the area are the daily St. Petersburg Tribune and the free weekly alternative newspaper Creative Loafing. iLovetheBurg.com is an award-winning and popular online source of information for downtown St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg is in the Tampa-St. Petersburg television and radio markets. WTSP channel 10 (CBS) and WTOG channel 44 (The CW) are licensed to St. Petersburg, with studios in unincorporated Pinellas County in the Gandy Boulevard area just north of the St. Petersburg limits. Bay News 9, the local cable TV news service, is based in northeast St. Petersburg. Independent station WTTA is licensed to St. Petersburg, with studios in Tampa. Official city government programming, known as StPeteTV, can be found on Bright House Networks Cable on Channel 641, WOW! Cable on Channel 15 or Verizon FiOS Channel 20 as well as online at www.stpete.org/stpetetv. In 2013 the city of St. Petersburg wants to sell its broadcast licence WSPF-CA channel 35.
Transportation in St. Petersburg makes it easy for citizens to conduct business quickly and efficiently.
Nearby Tampa International Airport provides air transportation for most passengers. Smaller airlines, with destinations to smaller cities and towns, operate at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, with most tenants providing only seasonal services. Albert Whitted Airport provides general aviation services near the heart of downtown St. Pete.
Mass transit in St. Petersburg is provided by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). A sightseeing trolley, called The Looper, also travels to key downtown destinations daily such as The Pier (closed until 2018 which may change), USF, Baywalk, Renaissance Vinoy Resort, Hotels & Inn's, and the multiple museums around the city. The Looper costs only 50 cents to ride and provides free drop off points throughout the transit.
CSX Transportation operates a former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad branch line which sees daily rail traffic from north Tampa though Safety Harbor, Clearwater, and Largo. As of March 2008, the portion that ran into downtown St. Petersburg and the adjacent western industrial areas was abandoned. There is a small rail yard to the northwest of downtown St. Petersburg at the new end of the rail line with several spur lines serving industries in the area.
Notable former stations include the St. Petersburg ACL station, which became an Amtrak station from 1971 to 1983, St. Petersburg Seaboard Air Line Passenger Station, and the St. Petersburg Seaboard Coast Line station.
Port and Marinas
One of the main sea transportation areas in St. Peterburg is the Port of St. Petersburg, which is located in downtown St. Petersburg. Boat marinas in downtown St. Petersburg are also available such as the Municipal Marina which located in the Southern and Central Yacht Basins, and Harborage Marina located in the Bayboro Harbor.
The city of St. Petersburg's major electricity system is provided by Duke Energy (previously known as Progress Energy), the city's major gas system is provided by TECO Energy in the industrial and commercial parts of the city, and the city's water services are provided by the city of St. Petersburg.
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- Mayoral elections in St. Petersburg, 2013
- Tallest buildings in St. Petersburg, Florida
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