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Friends of MICD,

Though most states have begun rolling back their lockdown measures, we're approaching a Memorial Day weekend with few of the traditional markers in store. Instead, all eyes are on the cities that have started the daunting process of carefully reopening businesses and reimagining the role of public space.

I'm excited to share this week's installment of our "Talk with a Mayor" series below. Read on to hear how Mayor Rick Kriseman is tackling these challenges head-on (and enjoy a sneak preview of St. Pete's new pier — a 26-acre once-in-a-generation investment in public space, which will be an incredible asset despite its delayed grand opening).

Trinity Simons
Executive Director
Mayors' Institute on City Design

"The St. Pete Way"

Mayor Rick Kriseman on reopening responsibly and investing in public space

Image: City of St. Petersburg
In this week's "Talk with a Mayor" column at Common Edge, MICD Executive Director Trinity Simons speaks with Mayor Rick Kriseman during the early stages of reopening in St. Petersburg, FL.

Mayor Kriseman shares a nuanced look at his community's approach to reopening as well as a sneak peek at the new St. Pete Pier. This $90 million investment in public space, originally slated to open May 30, features the design work of MICD resource team alumni Barbara Wilks, Rob Rogers, and Ken Smith.

On reopening responsibly:

It’s been so important for us to positively motivate our community to do the right thing from the beginning. We call it “The St. Pete Way.” There’s a toolkit on the Restart St. Pete website that describes it in detail, and we take pride that it’s well-designed. But it’s something I’ve been working on since I became mayor: changing the climate to be a community that looks out for each other, that celebrates its diversity and embraces compassion and kindness. I like to think our residents have come to expect it from City Hall.

On the new St. Pete Pier:

It isn’t just a pier; it’s an entire district of 26 acres. There are three restaurants at different price points, there is a great lawn, there is a beach, there are teaching landscapes, there are performance spaces, but there are also places where you can just sit and watch people or the water. There are so many more elements, and they all fit together seamlessly, like they were always meant to be there. It’s unlike anything our city has ever had or has ever seen.

We hope they see such a significant investment in the public realm as an investment in themselves, their community, and their future generations. We just can’t wait for people to be able to gather again so they can experience it!

Read the Article
The Mayors’ Institute on City Design is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.
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