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Kriseman teases more outdoor restaurant and retail capacity, Sunken Gardens opening

Megan Holmes



(Left to right): Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, J.P. Dubuque of St. Pete EDC, Mayor Kriseman (speaking), Jason Mathis of St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership. Photo by Megan Holmes

St. Petersburg dog parks, skate parks and recreation courts are open. Sunken Gardens will soon be open, and more outdoor dining and retail space is on the way, announced Mayor Rick Kriseman Tuesday.

Kriseman didn’t share when or how much additional outdoor dining and retail space the city would allow when he addressed residents via Facebook Live, but he said that business owners should look out for additional details in the coming days.

The announcement comes shortly after a statement last week that the administration would allow businesses with private parking lots on adjacent outdoor spaces to expand outdoor dining to those spaces, with an emergency permit.

Kriseman and city staff spent the time between announcements conducting a survey of business owners along Central Avenue and Beach Drive to decide how to proceed, and if the city should follow in Tampa’s footsteps.

“Please stay tuned for details related to the temporary conversion of on-street parking for retail and restaurant use,” Kriseman said.

“We were very deliberate in arriving at this decision, engaging with our business owners and thinking through unintended consequences and safety issues,” he explained. “We like to be on the cutting edge here in St. Pete, but there are times when we really need to check off every box to ensure that we get it right.”

Kriseman also mentioned that while a vast majority of restaurants were complying with the city and state directives, there had been a few complaints that St. Petersburg Police had to respond to.

Kriseman said a decision as to whether to open libraries has not yet been made.

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