Advocacy Issues

The Issue: Westminster Presbyterian Church

Neighborhood: The Historic Old Northeast

City Council Member: Darden Rice Council@stpete.org

Action You Can Take Now: Send a message to the CPPC via Kelly Perkins: kelly.perkins@stpete.org

BACKGROUND

The Westminster Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of 11th Ave. NE and 1st St. in the historic Old Northeast neighborhood, was designed in 1926 by well known architect Archie Parrish.  An application for designation as a local historic landmark has been filed by City Council. You can read the City Staff's report here: westminster church 2020-02-11 Report 19-90300008.pdf

THE THREAT

The Church and its property are presently for sale by the Presbytery of Tampa Bay. The site is comprised of 7 lots in total, and there is concern that the Church might be demolished by a developer.

Historic churches like Westminster are important to a neighborhood's character and sense of place. In addition to being a place of worship, these buildings have often served as a neighborhood meeting hall, school, voting site, or as a hub for social service programs or the arts. Today, many historic churches are facing an uncertain future as the role of religion in American culture changes. 

THE OPPORTUNITY

There is great opportunity as the function and use of our great historic church buildings change. Recently, St. Petersburg has seen two historic church buildings designated as local landmarks and successfully reused. The former Church of the Beatitudes in Crescent Heights is being converted to a single family residence and the former New Redeemer Lutheran Church in Central Oak Park has been converted to office use. The character and ambience these places provide is unrivaled, and cannot be matched by new construction. 

TIMELINE

  • In December of 2019, City Council voted to start the application process to designate Westminster Presbyterian Church as a local historic landmark. 
  • On February 11, 2020 at 2 pm the Community Planning & Preservation Commission (CPPC) will conduct a public hearing to consider the application. Read the staff report here: westminster church 2020-02-11 Report 19-90300008.pdf

  • The CPPC's recommendation will be forwarded to City Council who will make the final decision on landmark designation at a public hearing on March 6, 2020. 

WHAT PRESERVE THE ‘BURG IS DOING

Preserve the ‘Burg strongly supports the effort to designate the Westminster church as a local historic landmark. We are engaged in communication with neighborhood residents as well as potential buyers interested in learning more about the benefits of landmark designation. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  • Attend the hearing at the Mirror Lake Sunshine Center (330 5th St. N.), starting at 2pm on February 11th.
  • Send a message supporting the designation of the Westminster Church as a local historic landmark to the Community Planning and Preservation Commission (CPPC). Send the email to: kelly.perkins@stpete.orgcouncil@stpete.orginfo@preservetheburg.org
  • Join Preserve the 'Burg.  There is strength in numbers and City Council cares how many members we have! Become a Member!

 

Some things to consider including in your message:

  • A clear statement as to why you support the landmarking of the Church. Some possibilities: you think it is important to have a mix of uses in an historic neighborhood; you think it helps preserve the charm and character of the neighborhood; you think the intelligent reuse of historic buildings makes a neighborhood more interesting, and therefore more valuable; etc.
  • Mention a personal connection to the church if you have one.

  • Mention your professional qualifications if they are relevant (if you’re an architect, contractor, realtor, etc.) 

  • Mention what drew you to St. Petersburg or your own historic neighborhood in the first place - often it is the character of our historic buildings and neighborhoods. We need to constantly remind the CPPC and City Council members about what the “golden egg” is, and that we shouldn’t kill the goose!

  • Email message to Kelly Perkins, with the city’s historic preservation department and copy City Council and Preserve the ‘Burg. 

Citizen input is vital to efforts to Preserve the 'Burg. Make your voice heard today!


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Contact:
Preserve the 'Burg
P.O. Box 838
St. Petersburg, FL 33731
(727) 824-7802
info@preservetheburg.org
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