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'Welcome to St Pete' Sign to be Unveiled

The ribbon cutting for the 75ft welcome tower will be on Wednesday.

Motorists heading west crossing the Howard Franklin Bridge will get a new welcome to St. Petersburg. 

In time to welcome the delegates and guests to St. Petersburg for the Republican National Convention, the city's new welcome tower will be formally unveiled at a giant ribbon cutting event on Wednesday, Aug. 22 at 10 a.m.

Mayor Bill Foster will join local businessman Bill Edwards, members of City Council and invited guests to cut the ribbon.

According to a news release, the 75ft tall structure is visible more than a mile away. 

St. Petersburg's has similar welcoming signs on I-175 and I-375 that were placed in 2004, the city said.

For this structure, Edwards donated $600,000 for construction, which took five months to complete.

Edwards said he felt compelled to help St. Petersburg by donating the tower. 

"The timing was right," Edwards said in a news release. "In addition to exponentially increasing tourism in Central Florida, the upcoming Republican National Convention will be bringing tens of thousands of visitors from other states to our beautiful waterfront city. Now and in the future, we must project the image of a diverse, exciting, economically refreshed St. Petersburg, and the tower is an impressive beacon of that image."

Due to Florida Department of Transportation restrictions regarding safety and vehicles on the shoulder of I-275, the public is not invited to attend, a news release said.

Lori Marden Clark August 21, 2012 at 02:40 PM
"We must project the image of a diverse, exciting, economically refreshed St. Petersburg," and to do that we will waste $600,000 on a stupid blue tower instead of bettering the community. Wow. Just....wow. I note a lack of common sense here....
Joshua Streeter August 21, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I will agree that I was shocked to see how much that cost. But waste? The money was donated. Mr. Edwards has done us a favor, distinguishing our city from the city on the other side of the bridge. Thank you, sir. He didn't give $600k for the city to do with as they wish; it was specifically this. So what is your problem with it? If you want $600k to be used somewhere else, grab your checkbook. Barring that, I'd either keep quiet when someone reaches into their own pocket for an over half million dollar gift, or say, "Thank you, its lovely."
Lori Marden Clark August 21, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Thank you. Your lack of common sense is lovely.
cherylwithac August 21, 2012 at 03:42 PM
"We must project the image," Edwards says. Let's project some reality about St. Petersburg: the crime rate is astronomical. If you don't believe me, click on www.spotcrime.com, and type in any address in downtown St. Petersburg. Instead of the "diverse, exciting, economically St. Petersburg" that Edwards describes, you'll find a place that is coming apart at the seams. (P.S. By "helping" St. Petersburg, don't you think that Edwards is helping himself?)
cherylwithac August 21, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Pardon me, Edwards said that St. Petersburg is "economically refreshed." No doubt he is personally, and perhaps some of the millionaires along Beach Drive are doing well. Even some of them are in foreclosure on their condos. It's getting to be where people can't even afford to buy homeowner's insurance (see the recent article in the Tampa Bay Times--just type in "Citizens Insurance") or to pay their Progress Energy electric bills (again, see the Tampa Bay Times). That's the reality of St. Petersburg. Let's forget about the image and work to make the city a decent place for all to live.
Paula P. Jordan August 21, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Joshua - I absolutely agree. Thank you for your comment!
Joshua Streeter August 21, 2012 at 09:53 PM
You don't get to tell a millionaire where he spends his money. What a bunch of ingrates. He also donated 2 million dollars to the Mahaffey. Want to badmouth him some more for that one, since he didn't spend his money where you see fit?
Joshua Streeter August 21, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Hey, Lori, when you have enough sense to even make $600K, gimme a call, and I'll tell you where you can put it.
Ron Fields August 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM
"WE" won't waste anything! Didn't you read the article? The entire 600k was donated!! It didn't cost taxpayers a dime! You should change your attitude and express gratitude to Mr. Edwards for the donation!!
Ron Fields August 21, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Lori, Are you just not getting this was a gift? I can't believe your attitude!!
Ron Fields August 21, 2012 at 10:19 PM
I'm sure he is....and why is that a problem? We should be grateful he helped the city and not care about helping himself....sounds like a bit of jealously?
Ron Fields August 21, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I can't believe the couple folks on here that is bad-mouthing this donation! I suppose they would have preferred he donate the money to them? Generally speaking, folks who object to projects like this are the very people standing in line for a handout.... You guys should stop the moaning and groaning about the bad economy and get off your ass and do something to help yourself.
cherylwithac August 21, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Actually, people who object to projects like this have a social conscience.
David Ungerton August 22, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Talk about a city with an identity crisis. Funny how Pinellas and Hillsborough at always at odds with each other. Great way to progress a large metro area in a unified fashion.
David Ungerton August 22, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Hillsborough should put up an even BIGGER Monument on the opposite side. Now that would be funny.
monica August 22, 2012 at 10:30 PM
$600,000.00 could certainly feed alot of hungry families, a self serving sign does not.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Joshua, you're just plain vulgar. Your comment does nothing to advance the conversation.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM
David, you are so naiive. Of course they're competing with one another. What else would you expect?
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM
It would be stupid, just as stupid as the tower on the St. Petersburg side.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Lori, you've made an excellent point.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Mr. Edwards? Sir? He's not English royalty.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:31 PM
It was a gift from Edwards to Edwards.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:31 PM
Ron, you just don't get it. Edwards was helping himself.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Amen.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:36 PM
And if the hurricane comes to pass during the upcoming convention, we may not have to worry about the $600,000 monument that Edwards built in his own image. It will be gone.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Joshua, you're extrapolating beyond what anyone has said. Stick with the topic, please.
cherylwithac August 22, 2012 at 11:41 PM
And speaking of Edwards creating the monument in his own image, it just occurred to me that the tower is just one big phallic symbol. No wonder the guys (Ron, Joshua, David) are arguing for it.
monica August 23, 2012 at 11:55 AM
I saw it's erection! The surrounding beach communities including the City of Largo and Clearwater should not be too jealous. It's not that great. Frankly, it's a huge waste of funds, that could have been used better elsewhere.
cherylwithac August 23, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Yes, as erections go, it's not that great. As I said, Edwards created it in his own image.
cherylwithac August 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Ron, you sound like an angry white guy.

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