Uhurus hold conference on economic development

06/23/08 Jamie Kidder
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Yesterday in St. Petersburg, the Uhurus met in St. Petersburg to talk about the city’s economic development plans and the Rays ballpark proposal.

The Uhuru Movement in St. Petersburg is a group dedicated to the unity of Africans internationally. They met yesterday at the Uhuru House in South St. Petersburg, where they hosted a conference about the economic development projects in St. Petersburg, the primary one being the construction of a new waterfront stadium.

Local business owners spoke about the impact that they feel the new stadium will have on their businesses if it was built.

David Goodwin is the Director of Economic Development for the City of St. Petersburg, and Joe Zeoli is the Managing Director of the City’s Development Administration and Finance. Both were at the meeting to talk about the Rays stadium proposal, and to answer questions from the audience.

Goodwin gave a brief overview of the Rays’ proposal, and talked about what he felt the economic benefits of a new waterfront stadium would be.

Zeoli emphasized that the city has not yet come to a decision regarding the Rays stadium proposal, and continued to speak about the amount of money spent to build Tropicana Field, and the debt that’s still owed.

Members of the public were invited to voice their opinions or put forth questions to the city planners.

Omali Yeshitela is the leader of the Uhuru Movement and a local community activist. He asked the city employees what economic developments they had planned for the community aside from the Rays stadium.

According to Goodwin, the economic developments in St. Petersburg revolve around the construction of the new stadium.

A resident brought up a number of projects in the midtown area of St. Petersburg, an area known for its high rate of low-income residents, and how they fail to provide job opportunities for residents. Neither Goodwin nor Zeoli addressed that aspect of the question.

To learn more about the Uhuru Movement, visit uhurumovement.org. To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rays stadium proposal, visit stpete.org/raysproposal.

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