St. Petersburg: Inviting, Inspiring and Growing Brighter Every Day
Welcoming to All
Though St. Petersburg’s population nears 260,000, the city is still characterized by residents as a big small town. The neighborly vibe is evident in the city’s vibrant neighborhood associations, community events and simply, individual friendliness. This all in spite of having a diverse population that spans age, race, religion and sexual orientation.
“One of the things I like about St. Pete is you go out and you see millennials and boomers and everyone is OK with that,” says Jeff Johnson, state director of AARP. “That’s something you don’t see everywhere.”
A progressive city, St. Petersburg welcomes all. One of its most popular annual events celebrates its diversity.
What started in 2003 with a small LGBT Pride parade along Central Avenue just beyond the city’s downtown core has grown to be the largest Pride celebration in Florida and one of the largest in the nation.
In recent years, more than 200,000 people have attended the St Pete Pride Weekend. It’s a community family-friendly affair. Area corporations and non-profits enter parade floats. Many city and state leaders join in, riding in convertibles in the colorful parade that now rolls down Beach Drive.
The inclusiveness goes beyond festivities. The city employs a full-time liaison in the mayor’s office and police department to assist the growing demographic and has adopted LGBT-friendly policies. In 2016, the Human Rights Campaign gave the city a perfect score in the Municipal Quality Index, which is based on non-discrimination laws, employment practices, city services and city leaders’ positions on equality issues.