“St. Pete eyes digital kiosks. Some think they’ll be an eyesore.”

“St. Pete eyes digital kiosks. Some think they’ll be an eyesore.”

Photo: City of St Petersburg

“Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to bring digital information kiosks to downtown. But some business owners and council members aren’t sure those digital displays fit the city’s vibe…

The touch-screen kiosks are a hybrid of a mall directory and a giant smartphone. Depending on the brand, the rectangular devices can stand up to 8 feet tall. They display a mix of information, including events, restaurants, transit maps, public safety alerts — and, yes, advertising.

Some business owners wonder if the kiosks will add another layer of signage to downtown that would distract patrons with flashy advertising — or perhaps even change their minds about perusing local businesses.

‘The small businesses have long expressed concern that there could be an advertisement outside their store promoting a competing business,’ said Tami Simms, former president of the St. Petersburg Downtown Business Association…

City staff briefed council members on the idea during Thursday’s meeting of the council’s budget, finance and taxation committee. Council member Gina Driscoll said she’s already heard concerns from constituents who believe the extra signage will be more of a distraction than an asset.

‘There are so many other ways people can get information about the city,’ Driscoll said. ‘(Business owners) would rather be directly engaged than having something else that prevents someone from walking into a store.’

The kiosks would mix local information with paid-advertising, which would cover their cost and spare taxpayers the expense. Deputy mayor Kanika Tomlin said it’s still unclear how much advertising would be displayed. The amount of ads shown varies between the different companies offering kiosks…

Former City Council member Jeff Danner criticized the proposal on social media prior to Thursday’s meeting. He said the positive aspects of the kiosks — informing locals and visitors about events in the city — could be overshadowed by digital advertising. And what if that advertising was being driven by corporate franchises instead of locally-owned St. Petersburg businesses?

‘We do not want or need to open our beautiful pedestrian corridors to corporate advertising,’ Danner wrote. ‘Keep St Pete the special unique place it is.’

Kriseman, who has used the kiosks in Denver and Kansas City, insisted that the kiosks’ digital information would still be focused sending people to local businesses.

‘If anything, I think it will be great for local businesses,’ Kriseman said. ‘The purpose of this is to communicate … the advertising is almost an afterthought.'”

— Caitlin Johnston,Times staff writer

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Happy Birthday Marion Hilliard!

Happy Birthday Marion Hilliard!

Photo: Bill Jonson, Marion Hilliard and John Crescimbeni

Marion Hilliard celebrated her 90th birthday this October at the Orange Park Women’s Club amid family, friends and Scenic Florida members.

A tireless activist and leader, Marion has held many local, state and national level leadership positions that all contributed to preserve protect and enhance Florida and our entire nation! Happy Birthday Marion from all of us here at CSF.

— Scenic Florida

“Legislative Update: National Scenic Byways Foundation”

“Legislative Update: National Scenic Byways Foundation”

Photo: Florida Scenic Byways via National Scenic Byway Foundation

“The U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee September 27 unanimously approved H.R.5158 – which directs the Secretary of Transportation to reopen the nomination process for National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads.

The bill – introduced by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ted Poe (R-TX) – was revised through an amendment offered by U.S. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), who chairs the powerful Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

Scenic America and the National Scenic Byway Foundation have been working hard to advocate for this bill. By contacting your Representative today you will help bring this goal one step closer to reality…

A recent survey found that 44 state scenic byways across the country are prepared to seek designation as National Scenic Byways. It’s critical that we get this important program restarted so these local communities can benefit from this special federal designation.

View Bill Tracker

View a pdf showing language in the bill

View a pdf of our Legislative Alert and Call To Action

View a video showing debate on the measure

— National Scenic Byway Foundation

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Placemaking: “Pensacola Foo Foo Festival celebrates five years of success; still working on unique name”

Placemaking: “Pensacola Foo Foo Festival celebrates five years of success; still working on unique name”

Photo: Pensacola News Journal

“From umbrellas floating in the sky to colorful murals covering what once was a drab parking garage to art installations to interactive displays, the 12-day compendium of events known as the Foo Foo Festival has made its mark upon Pensacola, and will again soon with the latest edition of the entertainment catch-all, Nov. 1-12.

Perhaps what has not made its mark upon Pensacola? The name ‘Foo Foo Festival.’

Photo: ACE

Even five years into the event, the name still does not come tripping from the tongues of most Pensacolians…

For the record, here’s what Foo Foo Festival is all about: It’s a 12-day compilation of a whole lot of separate entertainment events, art installations, culinary experiences and even other festivals. The idea is to pack as much entertainment and fun into the 12 days that folks visiting Pensacola during the two weekends of Foo Foo will have no problem finding something to do…”

— Mike Suchcicki, Special to Pensacola News Journal

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Florida’s National Scenic Trails Celebrating 50 years of the National Trails System Act

Florida’s National Scenic Trails Celebrating 50 years of the National Trails System Act

Photo: Florida Trail Association Website

“In February 1965, President Lyndon Johnson’s speech to Congress on ‘Conservation and Preservation of Natural Beauty’ was more than about clean water and parks. He also spoke about trails.

‘The forgotten outdoorsmen of today are those who like to walk, hike, ride horseback, or bicycle. For them we must have trails as well as highways…Old and young alike can participate. Our doctors recommend and encourage such activity for fitness and fun…’

The National Scenic Trail has 11 designated trails within the National Trails System and one of those is the Florida National Scenic Trail, with over a thousand miles- one stretch of which takes hikers through Hernando County.

Those that love a little outdoor adventure can experience over 20 miles of some of the best scenic hiking in Hernando County. Hikers can enjoy the diversity of habitats from swamp domes to sandhill scrub within the Withlacoochee Forest and may even see some of Florida’s amazing wildlife and wildflowers.

Not enough time to experience the full 20 miles? Here are three sections of the FNST in Hernando County for starting a simple outdoor adventure.

Cypress Lake Preserve: the trail enters/exits on Ridge Manor Blvd with 1.62 miles of scrub and sandhill habitats as well as dome swamps and enters/exits on Paul R. Steckle Lane

Perry Oldenburg: enters/exits at Willow Street with 1.54 miles of mostly sandhill habitat and follows Deer Run Road for 1.02 miles to connect to Colonel Robins Tract Trail a .74 mile section of the Withlacoochee State Forest that enters/exits US 41 (across the street of the Chinsegut Conservation Trail)

Chinsegut Conservation Trail: enters/exits at US 41 and Snow Memorial HWY is 2.04 miles of upland pine and the trail leads you to the Cypress Boardwalk overlooking Mays Prairie. The trail exits/enters at CR 481 (Snow Memorial HWY near Lake Lindsey Road)…”

Check out https://www.floridatrail.org/florida-national-scenic-trail/fnst/ for more helpful information.

Learn more about the National Trails System https://www.trails50.org/

— Alice Mary Herden, Hernando Sun

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