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St. Pete Chamber community looks ahead to new goals

Veronica Brezina



St. Pete Chamber of Commerce's 124th annual meeting. Photos by Veronica Brezina.

Hundreds gathered inside The Center for Health Equity as the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce recognized its members and goals for the new year. 

Chamber CEO and President Chris Steinocher kicked off the 124th annual meeting Wednesday morning, which included speakers such as St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch, executives from The Greenhouse, directors from Deuces Live, the Innovation District and Skyway Marina District and many more. 

The Center for Health Equity Executive Director Marcus Brooks (left), Chair Jason Jensen, President and CEO of Gulf Coast JFCS Sandra Braham and Chamber President and CEO Chris Steinocher. 

A highlight of announcements made during the annual meeting:

  • Veatrice Farrell, executive director of Deuces Live Inc., said the group has a list of 12 projects it is working to complete. Deuces Live, Preserve The Burg, the City of St. Petersburg and others are working to preserve and renovate the Melrose Clubhouse; the iconic landmark was dedicated in 1942 as the Clubhouse for the City Federation of Colored Womens’ Clubs. 
  • Alison Barlow, executive director of the Innovation District, said the Maritime and Defense Technology Hub currently has 21 tenants that are in the maritime and/or defense industry. She informed the attendance that there will be a study on the redevelopment of Port St. Pete. 
  • Developer Jay Miller spoke on the dire need for affordable housing, stating that businesses are struggling to keep local employees due to skyrocketing rents. He has talked with land use attorneys and others to accumulate information regarding how the city may address the ongoing challenge and suggested the following: 1. The city should rezone areas to accommodate and promote affordable housing 2. Improve access to neighborhoods (the intercity SunRunner bus rapid transit line is an example of how that connectivity can be accomplished.) 3. Provide tax incentives to landlords, allowing them to establish affordable rent for residents.
  • Activist Gypsy Gallardo, CEO of St. Petersburg’s One Community Plan, will be spearheading a series that will educate businesses on how they can utilize DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) in their practice. 
  • Tracy Smith, co-manager of the small business liaison at The Greenhouse, is collaborating with the Chamber to identify opportunities for accessing capital related to capacity building and will be working with the city on supplier diversity and inclusion training. 
  • Executives from Leadership St. Pete (LSP), a division of the Chamber that consists of a six-month experience that promotes and enhances community stewardship, celebrated the achievement of the 2022 LSP graduating class and introduced the class of 2023. The plans for the next incoming class have been tweaked. The hosted seminars will be reduced from 10 to seven, and last half a day, while there will be adjustments to the programming, such as adding a new seminar on opportunities/challenges faced by the city. 
1 Comment

1 Comment

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    January 26, 2023at7:37 am

    Thanks. Please print corrections

    The Chamber meeting was held at The Center For Health Equity

    Marcus Brooks is the Executive Director for The Center For Health Equity not the Foundation

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