The St. Petersburg renaissance has been in full swing for over a decade. We’ve excelled in many areas and struggled in others. In our series, St. Pete 2.0, we’re partnering with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership to explore what lies on the other side of our potential – what will it take to move to the “next level” as a city? Through this series, we’ll dig into specific topics with the hope that you, our thoughtful citizens, will share your insight, experience and wisdom.
Let’s start with a simple premise: everyone deserves a clean, comfortable and safe place to live. Like many other communities, St. Petersburg is struggling to provide housing for all the people who want to live here, at a price everyone can afford. And like any complex, urban challenge, there are many interrelated factors (stagnant wages, high construction costs, suburban zoning requirements, NIMBYism, etc.) that all contribute to the affordable housing challenge. As a community, we need to create and preserve housing options that will meet our current and future needs.
In a letter to the City Council last year, the Downtown Partnership recommended working with the business community to identify best practices and to think creatively about how to incentivize affordable housing. Our voice was one of many in this conversation, and city leaders have been working on this issue for a long time. But there has been meaningful progress that we shouldn’t take for granted. Over the past several months, city leaders have moved forward on a variety of fronts to encourage the private sector to help build housing for middle class and lower-wage employees while helping to create stronger more vibrant, economically diverse communities. The City’s efforts are not perfect, nor are they a silver bullet to solve this enormous and complex challenge. But they are thoughtful and welcome. And they show real commitment to finding solutions in an expedited way.
We’re interested in hearing from you, community leaders, business owners and citizens of St. Petersburg about how we can creatively solve the affordable housing crisis. Click the button below to take our survey.
Possible public policy solutions are listed. Please choose 3-5 of the solutions you think would be most useful and provide comments on how St. Petersburg can use these tools to solve the housing crisis.