ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — St. Petersburg city leaders are hearing from frustrated residents about how their tax dollars should be spent.
Some residents want the city to redevelop the Gas Plant District, a historic Black neighborhood that was dismantled forty years ago to build what’s now known as Tropicana Field.
“We want our taxpayer dollars to go towards economic development and affordable housing,” said Jameka Williams, a supporter of the Gas Plant District.
The Gas Plant District surfaced in the early 20th century, but the contentious debate dates back 40 years ago when residents were forced to relocate from the neighborhood.
“Their neighborhood was essentially abolished, and we want to see that go back to them and to see that promise to be upheld,” said Williams.
The families who had to move away were offered the promise of jobs and opportunities, but it never materialized.
“These people that were living in the Gas Plant District are probably in poverty because they were given nickels for something that was worth diamonds,” said Janney Karioki.
Redevelopment plans are in the works to fulfill those unrealized promises and bring to St. Petersburg new attainable housing, equitable business opportunities, office space, meeting space, open space and overall equitable and impactful economic development that benefits all.