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Allison Graves
By Allison Graves June 15, 2017

Kriseman highlights highs and lows in annual state of city addresses

Mayor Rick Kriseman delivered three annual rundowns of the city's affairs since taking office in 2014, making good on a campaign promise.

All of Kriseman's addresses, delivered in January, can be watched on YouTube or found on the city website.

At his swearing-in, Kriseman laid out his hopes for the future of the city. He waited a year to deliver his first "state of the city" address, a common practice for executive branch leaders.

That 2015 speech showcased a major announcement for the St. Petersburg police department.

"Today I am pleased to announce that I will be asking our city council to approve an agreement with Pinellas County that will provide the final $20 million in penny funding needed to build — in one phase — a new police station," Kriseman said on the steps of city hall.

The project took sometime to take off. A groundbreaking ceremony was held in April 2017 to start construction of the building, which is set to finish by the end of 2018.

In his 2016 address, Kriseman touted the future of the new St. Petersburg pier despite breaking his promise to have it built by the end of 2015. He also reiterated his goal to keep the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg and announced plans for the formation of a Baseball Forever Campaign.

Kriseman said the campaign would unite St. Petersburg-based Rays fans, business leaders and elected officials under the same goal.

"They will be asked to pitch our city to the Tampa Bay Rays by demonstrating future fan and corporate support and the many benefits of remaining on the current site, perhaps on the site's eastern half closer to our bustling downtown and waterfront," he said.

In his 2017 address, Kriseman reaffirmed his commitment and responsibility to fix the sewage crisis, but admitted that the problem may persist as the wastewater system is upgraded. It is estimated that the city dumped 200 million gallons of sewage into local bays and streets.

The mayor also mentioned President Donald Trump, who was less than a week away from moving into the Oval Office.

"My criticisms of him are not about politics," Kriseman said. "I simply disagreed with much of what he said and how he said it."

Kriseman's companion promise to make himself and staff available to the press on a regular basis is rated Promise Kept.

Kriseman gave a state of city address every year in office. We rate this Promise Kept.

Our Sources

YouTube, "Swearing-In Ceremony for Mayor Rick Kriseman," Jan. 6, 2014

YouTube, "St. Petersburg State of the City Address," Jan. 26, 2015

YouTube, "2016 State of the City Address,"Jan. 26, 2016

YouTube, "State of the City 2017," Jan. 18, 2017

St., "Speeches and Remarks," accessed June 12, 2017

Tampa Bay Times, "Mayor Rick Kriseman makes his pitch for Tampa Bay Rays to stay put in St. Petersburg (w/video)," April 5, 2017

Tampa Bay Times, "Get the latest look at the St. Petersburg Police Department's new digs," April 20, 2017

Tampa Bay Times, "State proposes $820,000 fine for St. Petersburg's sewage failures," Dec. 1, 2016

Email exchange, Ben Kirby, mayor's communications director, June 13, 2017


Joshua Gillin
By Joshua Gillin April 24, 2015

Police station deal announced in mayor's first speech

A major announcement highlighted Rick Kriseman's first state of the city address, the new mayor's first speech reviewing St. Petersburg's affairs.

Kriseman said on Jan. 24, 2015, that he had reached a deal with the county to use $20 million in Penny for Pinellas sales tax money to help build a new, $70 million police headquarters. A new facility has been slated to be built across the street from the current building on First Avenue North has been in the works for years, but the recession and a lack of revenue derailed plans.

There had been talk of building the headquarters in phases, but the Penny for Pinellas money would allow the station to be built all at once. Plans are for the building to be used for 70 years, and be constructed well enough to withstand a Category IV hurricane. The St. Petersburg City Council and Pinellas County Commission formally agreed to the plan in in February.

Kriseman also said he was hopeful about two other contentious issues: Stadium negotiations with the Rays and plans for the city's downtown Pier. While talks between the team and the mayor reached a standstill after the council rejected a prior plan in 2014, the Pier process pushed onward.

"I'm the third mayor to contend with this issue and I'm determined to be the last," he said. Kriseman's selection committee chose the Pier Park design as the final design on April 23. The city council now will have to authorize contract negotiations with the designers.

Kriseman spoke with pride about hiring new Police Chief Anthony Holloway, and said he has worked hard to support gay and lesbian rights, a higher minimum wage for municipal employees and a better business climate. He touted the changing face of the city, with communities coming together in ways they hadn't before.

"A seamless city calls for blurred lines. In fact, it is a requirement. And I am pleased to see lines and boundaries throughout the city being eliminated at a rapid pace," he said. "Many of the faces I see downtown at Paper Street Market are the same faces we see at Brocante Market on 22nd Street South."

This was Kriseman's first state of the city speech, but he has more to deliver. Until he's given one every year of his term, we rate this promise In The Works.

Our Sources

YouTube, "St. Petersburg State of the City Address," Jan. 26, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, "Mayor Rick Kriseman has deal for new St. Petersburg police headquarters," Jan. 24, 2015

Tampa Tribune, "Rick Kriseman announces plan for new police station," Jan. 24, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, "St. Petersburg sets aside up to $70M for new police headquarters," Feb. 5, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, "County agrees to $20 million in Penny for Pinellas funds for St. Pete police station," Feb. 10, 2015

Tampa Bay Times, "Next pier move up to St. Petersburg City Council," April 24, 2015

Interview with Ben Kirby, mayor's communications director, April 10, 2015

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