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As a former Midtown resident, I know that the needs of Midtown and many and complex. Public safety is a huge concern. I would hear gunshots outside my window many nights, and the safety of our citizenry is a top issue. Not every neighborhood in our city needs to be "hip", but they all need to be safe. Community based policing is important for Midtown. We need to have officers patrolling the neighborhood that are familiar with the residents and the territory, as opposed to out of area officers who are hardened products of the system. Midtown desperately needs a grocery store at Tangerine Plaza. The Wal-Mart there was patronized by myself and many other members of the community, and their leaving has left a huge hole and exposed the issue of the "food desert". Walgreens departing from MLK and 22nd Ave S further compounds the problem. We need to stop bussing residents to another WalMart, the very store that just abandoned our residents. We need to push to terminate the lease with Walmart so the space is available and attract another grocer ASAP. We must improve, enhance, and support our public schools in the area. The schools may not be a legal responsibility of city government, but ensuring they have the support they need, is a moral one.  We must promote mentorships, wrap-around social services, etc. We must also encourage locally owned businesses, from the community, to open along 16th and 22nd streets. Both of these two thoroughfares are set up as commercial hubs, and just lack the tenants. It would create jobs for the community, thus providing money for families, but it would also showcase the unique talents, history, and skills of the residents and could also be an added coup for tourism and make Midtown a destination to visit for its rich cultural heritage. I would also like to see a home good store, along the lines of a Target, open up in the area. I was constantly frustrated with the distance I had to travel to get bedding, pillows, clothing, etc, and still am.

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Paid for and Approved by Robert Blackmon for St. Petersburg City Council, District 6
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