The leadership that it took to move the 600 block of St Petersburg, which was idle for years, past the stasis and into a showcase for community renovation in the arts has been an example to all neighboring communities. Unfortunately, the economy simultaneously tanked. We have seen lots of the artist tenants turn over, and in my private conversations with many others still there, I am hearing the same thing. They are hanging by a thread, and barring a quick turn-around, many will have to leave. We are already seeing some of the 600 block storefronts turning into retail shops. I have nothing against this, but the 600 block should not turn into a boutique strip mall. The City and artists had a very different vision for the area -- and realized it. Let's not allow this brief and shining moment to dim and go out.
I'm not sure what the best course to take is at this time, but this needs to be discussed out in the open between the tenant and the City. When it comes to the 600 block, we need to go the distance.