St. Pete’s Greater Central District has provided a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community for over two decades

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St. Pete LGBTQ Welcome Center at 2227 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The motto of the Grand Central District is “This is where the locals go”. It is bordered by the two distinct and unique neighborhoods of Palmetto Park and Historic Kenwood, whose residents are not only the district’s neighbors but also its collaborators, shaping the artistic and economic growth of the district. The Greater Central District has provided a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community for more than two decades and has been instrumental in creating one of the largest celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community in the Southeastern United States, the St Pete Pride Parade. With over 80 LGBTQ+ owned and/or operated businesses in the district, the area has one of the highest concentrations of such businesses in the country.

For the better part of a decade, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay has worked hand-in-hand with St. Pete Pride on the production and distribution of its event guide, and despite a pandemic that forced a full cancellation of Pride the year last, CL and St. Pete Pride teamed up again in 2021 for a independent guide on the stands throughout the month of June. This piece of David Foote, Executive Director of the Greater Central District, is taken from this guide.

The Grand Central District is home to more than 350 locally owned and operated independent businesses, spanning between 16th and 31st Streets and 1st Avenue North, Central Avenue and 1st Avenue South. It is a designated and accredited Main Street by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a member of the Florida Main Street program. The Grand Central District is St. Petersburg’s oldest main street district and recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.

One of the main directives of the Main Street program is the economic revitalization and repurposing of existing structures, and the Greater Central District has taken this concept to another level. After suffering a drastic economic decline in the 1980s, it has become a thriving community teeming with interesting shops, arts and crafts shops, professional and personal services, health and wellness providers. be, local breweries and a variety of restaurants and bars. Long-standing businesses have also seen great improvements and are benefiting from efforts in the Greater Central District.

Art studios and galleries can be seen throughout the Greater Central District. The artistic community is woven into the fabric of the neighborhood, which is home to many of the impressive building murals that have become part of St. Petersburg culture. The area is pedestrian and bike friendly and has electric vehicle chargers, rental bikes and scooters. It is also easily accessible through the city’s public transit system. As the city continues to reinvent itself, the district will provide a home, an entrepreneurial enclave and a creative space for interesting people with imaginative ideas and dreams. Whether you want to come for an hour or for a day, the Grand Central District has something for you.

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