August Workgroup Recap

Grow Smarter workgroups are steadily at work continuing the mission of equitable economic growth Below are the highlights from our District & Corridor Development, Targeted Job Creation, and Entrepreneurial Growth Work Groups from their August meetings.

District and Corridor Development

Our wonderful team on the D&C work group continued discussions on their 2019 priorities which are the Trop Site redevelopment, transportation initiatives, and the coastal high hazard areas.

Trop Site:

Discussion and preliminary planning of hosting a panel or presentation on the history of the site to foster conversations from the community regarding the plans for the site. They also brainstormed who else needs to be at the table for these discussions with action items to follow up with some potential key players and information sources.


The Brightline was a key topic in the discussion of this priority. Specifically, what it would take in order for the line to be extended to St. Petersburg. A Looper connecting St. Pete was also brought up, what metrics would be needed, and who would need to come in as a funder.

Coastal High Hazard:

The City has begun their community sessions on this topic and their planning. The next one being held is Oct. 15th, 6:00 pm in the Main Library.

Entrepreneurial Growth

This group is committed to mapping the entrepreneurial ecosystem of St. Petersburg and determining the logistics of tacking this large project. St. Pete also has a lot of resources for entrepreneurs so there was much consideration on how to be more inclusive when educating our entrepreneurial ecosystem on what is available to them. There may also be an annual survey to send out to entrepreneurs to quantify (and qualify) ecosystem in St. Pete.

The Chamber’s benchmarking trip, Thinking Outside the ‘Burg, is coming up and the Entrepreneurial Growth Workgroup plans to use this as a learning opportunity as well. There are also plans for this workgroup to have their own benchmarking trip in the coming years specifically geared towards their goals and priorities.

Targeted Job Creation

Our Targeted Job Creation Workgroup reviewed a report on breaking up manufacturing data across race for Pinellas County – based upon where they work. This was followed by an exploration of the creation of a formalized business retention/expansion strategy and team with the primary notion being that if we don’t take a holistic approach from the development and workforce side, then we won’t succeed.

The group discussed what can be done to move the needle onto getting people into jobs.

  • There are resources that exist that can assist employers in this area, but they are not easy to access or apply for due to restrictive compliance so the group brainstormed how can Grow Smarter make this easier and minimize the difficulty from the business standpoint.
  • Also, the City is kicking off it’s planning for Vision 2050 and there will be additional community outreach to determine what the city needs to do/look like for 2050. It was noted that the county and city have created software that tracks vendor ownership demographic (e.g., gender, minority owned, etc.).

While it is difficult to disseminate all the information from each of our workgroup meetings into a single post, we encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved with one of our focus areas to contact us. You can reach out to Marisa Mattingly at with inquires and questions.

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