St. Petersburg demands $ 62 million from state in 2022 legislative session

PETERSBURG – The city finalized its list of priorities for the state legislature at the next General Assembly session in 2022. St. Petersburg’s list for state legislators stands at at least 62 million dollars.

Some of the major projects listed are a sewer infrastructure upgrade at Poor Creek, which is essential for the operation of Phlow’s developing pharmaceutical hub, AMPAC Fine Chemicals on Normandy Drive. Ten other projects totaling approximately $ 25 million relate to areas such as public safety, gun violence, black history and tourism.

At the last city council meeting, city spokeswoman Joanne Williams told councilors this year’s legislative agenda is particularly important compared to previous years as the state has billions of dollars in additional COVID-19 recovery funds to distribute.

The most watched element of the city’s legislative agenda may not even include a request for funds. He asks the General Assembly to approve St. Petersburg as the accepted venue for a new casino. If approved, the decision would go to a referendum in the city. Petersburg would then have to choose a provider to operate the potential casino.

Following:Morrissey drafts a bill to bring the casino to Petersburg; the other city lawmaker is not sure

The possibility of this project has already sparked much debate among the inhabitants of the city, following the failure of the referendum of Richmond to approve One Casino, with 51.4% of the voters against. The leaders of St. Petersburg have made their voices heard to bring the Richmond casino opportunity to the city.

Other agenda items unrelated to funding included a vote in support of removing the ban on “skill games,” a type of game, and a demand for homes like AirBnb pay taxes directly to the city with specific documents.

Funding for water and sewer upgrades

St. Petersburg’s biggest individual funding request for the coming year is $ 19.6 million for improvements to the Poor Creek sewer service system in the south-eastern half of the city. About a third of the city’s water and sewer infrastructure, it would serve the pharmaceutical hub. Earlier this year it was said that Poor Creek is already at full capacity, and has been for over a decade.

Petersburg at the same time is seeking a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality to be awarded in January 2022. If the city misses this award, it asks the state to step in and help.

Two smaller infrastructure demands are $ 3.4 million to cover the modernization of the water tower, the emergency water pipe and the increase in the cost of materials for improvements to pharmaceutical sewers, and $ 14 million for South Central wastewater treatment plant which serves Poor Creek.

Ten-item project list addresses recovery

Petersburg also submitted a list of 10 projects he hopes the state can help fund. Their needs are classified into: tourism recovery, economic recovery, COVID recovery, public safety

1) $ 2.6 million – Demolition or salvage of the old Ramada Inn

The saga with the old Ramada Inn has dragged on since at least 2018, when property owner Chris Harrison was charged with a number of code violations related to the structure’s state of disrepair. Petersburg is currently the subject of legal proceedings that could give the city the power to demolish or restore the property and put the bill on Harrison.

Following:Petersburg files 267-page lawsuit against ramada Inn’s dilapidated owner to force action

2) $ 3.3 million – Emergency radio system for public safety

The last update of the city’s critical communication system was in 2013. These systems are no longer supported for maintenance and many parts are only available on E-bay. The city says it could be a storm of catastrophic system failure that could disrupt dispatch communications for days or weeks.

3) $ 1 Million – Gun Violence Prevention

The funds would help hire three more social workers for the police department. The Petersburg Police Office has developed a plan for new social workers to engage with the city’s youth and adults on conflict resolution, and provide programs and advice on life choices, including l education and recreation. The program would be in collaboration with schools and Parks and Recreation.

4) $ 3.5 million – South side deposit

The renovation of the historic structure has been the subject of discussions for several years but little work has been carried out for several years. The old depot along the South Side Railroad Line is expected to be converted into a visitor center for the city, which could attract around 40,000 additional visitors per year. The city has already approved $ 1.4 million for the project through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Following:Petersburg selects 12 projects for $ 8.8 million in first round of US bailout

5) $ 500,000 – St. Petersburg Library Education Center

The public library is seeking funds for the recently completed event center which can operate with auditorium seating or banquet seating. Construction was just completed this year and the addition opened to the public in September.

6) $ 5 million – Technology park on the site of the old hospital

The former site of the Petersburg General Hospital has been mentioned as a possible relocation site for companies that could complement the pharmaceutical cluster on Normandy Drive. The 15-acre site previously had a Veterans Affairs bid for a medical clinic, which ultimately failed.

The current site needs site preparation, broadband access, and ingress and egress improvements to be able to facilitate further development. The offices surrounding the site are also vacant. Petersburg says the new hospital site is a prime location for a new technology park that can provide well-paying jobs and workforce training.

7) $ 5 Million – EDA Revolving Loan Fund

The revolving loan is a mechanism through which the Economic Development Authority can grant loans to businesses to promote growth in Petersburg. The city said the fund is expected to provide additional funding to help tourism and hospitality businesses recover from COVID-19. The revolving loan was also approved for cash under the American Rescue Plan Act, in the amount of $ 2.3 million.

8) $ 1 million – Black History Museum

The history of Saint Petersburg has always been one of its greatest tourist attractions. Despite the city’s immense lineage of black rulers and historic events, there is still no museum on black history in the city.

The funds would be used to help stabilize the site, develop programming and create content for the museum. One planned site is in the old library building, where 140 students from Peabody School and Virginia State College – led by Reverend Wyatt Tee Walker – were seated in the building’s white-only seats. The protest lasted for four days and led to 11 arrests.

9) $ 400,000 – Freedom Help Center

The Freedom Support Center was closed earlier this year as the FLITE Foundation, which ran it, was going out of business.

The support center served as a hub to help veterans in the region with things like housing, job training, education benefits, and housing. The amount Petersburg requested would help keep it open for another four years.

Following:The Freedom Support Center is closed after the withdrawal of its management nonprofit

10) $ 3 Million – Salvage of Dilapidated Historic Properties

The city is no stranger to dilapidated properties. Strengthening Code enforcement and tackling absentee landlords who sometimes own dozens of dilapidated homes has been a priority in recent years.

The requested amount would be used for a fund to help economically disadvantaged people afford upgrades to their housing.

You can reach Sean Jones at s[email protected]. Follow him on @SeanJones_PI. Follow the Progress-Index on Twitter at @ProgressIndex.

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