Kriseman: ‘It’s About Our Kids’
By ANNE LINDBERG, Tampa Bay Reporter
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman sketched the beginnings of a road map for St. Petersburg’s future during a speech after he was sworn in for a second term.
ST. PETERSBURG – Mayor Rick Kriseman today (Jan. 2) outlined an ambitious goal for his second term in office – to lead and be a ray of hope for others while leaving the city a better place for future generations.
“We’ll also begin a larger conversation about St. Pete’s growth and future, which I expect will result in a Vision 2050 guiding document. Again, it’s about our kids, and leaving our city better than we found it. We’re on track to do just that,” Kriseman said.
He added, “Our kids, their future, is really what all of this is about. It’s about ensuring St. Pete forever remains a wonderful and affordable place to live, work, and play.”
Kriseman was speaking from the steps of City Hall, moments after he was sworn in for a second four-year term. The mayor’s swearing in came after four City Council members were sworn in – Brandi Gabbard and Gina Driscoll, who will be serving on the council for the first time, and Darden Rice and Amy Foster, who will be serving their second terms on the council. The eight-member council, which now has a majority of women, chose Lisa Wheeler-Bowman as chair for the coming year. Steve Kornell was chosen vice chair.
Kriseman’s speech touched on the promises he made four years ago when took the oath of office for his first term. Promises, he said, that have been, or are in the process of being, kept.
Among those: tackling poverty in south St. Petersburg, construction of a new pier and police station, work on transportation infrastructure and negotiating with the Tampa Bay Rays. Other infrastructure issues – the 40th Avenue Bridge and the city’s overburdened and outdated sewer system – are “being addressed head on.”
“In fact, nearly $100 million has already been spent reducing the amount of stormwater that enters our wastewater system and increasing our treatment capacity,” Kriseman said. “And my hope is that this issue will now be less of a political football and that we can make even greater progress without unnecessary distraction. This is important. This isn’t just a public works project. It’s a public safety and public health project.
“In addition to our immediate upgrades, our integrated ‘one water’ initiative will help us understand how drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, reclaimed water and recreational water uses overlap, and how we can best prepare for heavier use, a changing climate, and rising seas.”
Kriseman praised the city’s outlook, saying, “Today, we are a city of a compassion, a city that aims to be what Pope Francis has called a ‘workshop of peace.’ … So, let it be known: we are proud of our progress and our progressivism; especially right now, when good people from throughout our state, nation, and world are looking for rays of hope, and even refuge. And so, we must continue to lead, not slow down. We must continue to shine bright, and not dim our light for others.”
Kriseman concluded by calling for unity: “Join with me today. Join our council members. Join our city’s business leaders and faith leaders and neighborhood leaders and everyone who makes positive contributions to our city, in moving us forward and finishing the work we began.
“And let’s do so united, because a united St. Pete is an unstoppable St. Pete.”
To read Kriseman’s full speech, go to facebook.com.
Photos courtesy of the city of St. Petersburg.
Rick Kriseman | St. Petersburg | Mayor | Swearing In | Government | Tampabay News
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