ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WTSP) – St. Petersburg city officials will vote Thursday to approve a proposed agreement that would allow St. Pete Pride to move from its original home in the city’s Grand Central district into downtown. The agreement, however, comes with some financial incentives to stay in its old neighborhood.
St. Pete Pride organizers have already decided to move this year’s parade downtown to the city’s waterfront, running from Albert Whitted Park up Bayshore Drive and finishing at Vinoy Park. Pride’s street festival will stay in the Grand Central district.
The proposed 5-year agreement between the city and St. Pete Pride scales back city funding for the event that’s usually used to offset costs for city services like police. If Pride keeps all its events in the Grand Central neighborhood the city will continue to contribute its usual $45,000, if Pride chooses to hold either its parade or its street festival downtown that contribution goes down to $35,000, and if both the parade and street fest are held downtown the city will contribute $25,000.
Pride organizers told the Tampa Bay Times the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando and recent terrorist attacks in France and Germany drove them to relocate the parade downtown.
Many in the city’s gay community say the move saddens them, but some of them say they understand the need to move, especially as St. Pete Pride has grown into the largest Pride parade in the southeastern U.S.
Pride organizers say the event drew close to a quarter million people last year, injecting around $20 million into the local economy.