In both the perception of local stakeholders and visually through new and under-construction downtown developments, St. Petersburg is a city on the rise. Long-term residents often begin stories about St. Petersburg with, “if you would have seen this (fill in the blank) ten years ago, you wouldn’t believe how much it’s changed for the better.” Downtown and the waterfront are buzzing with activity and certain intown neighborhoods are seeing re-investment after years of decline. The city’s long-time economic strengths in tourism and construction are being complemented by growing concentrations in marine science, health care, professional and technical services, financial services, and the arts. But analysis of the data reveals some continuing concerns. The city of St. Petersburg and its home county of Pinellas are among the few Florida communities to have lost population in the previous ten years. Economic growth has also stagnated, even before the crippling effects of the Great Recession. The city has experienced losses in some higher-wage skills-based sectors, including information technology and manufacturing, as well as in historically strong sectors, such as retail, that presumably negatively impact city revenues. Poverty and crime remain stubbornly high and performance rates of many public school students frustratingly low. But – as symbolized by its logo “Mr. Sun” – the Sunshine City of St. Petersburg has a bright future if the momentum of its intown resurgence can continue to bolster outer districts and the gradual diversification of its economy can be accelerated. Positive signs abound in its entrepreneurial economy as an ecosystem builds around a host of key assets and skilled talent is attracted to the walkable and amenity-rich downtown. Ultimately, what many in the community would like to see is St. Petersburg better differentiate itself in the Tampa Bay area, improving prospects not only in the city but also the region as a whole. The Grow Smarter Initiative will seek to determine what makes St. Petersburg unique, how it can be developed and improved and, ultimately, how the city’s “story” can be told to potential investors and talent across the country and globe.