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Pinellas County incentivizes development through stormwater facilities

Pinellas County is now using its regional stormwater collection facilities to spur redevelopment in what it considers priority areas, including unincorporated Lealman.

During Thursday’s [Aug. 11] work session, Pinellas commissioners heard an update on how the county will offer development credits and stormwater treatment solutions to lure new projects. Kelli Hammer Levy, director of public works, began the presentation by calling the initiative a relatively new concept.

Pinellas officials are applying the concept to three priority locations – Lealman, downtown Palm Harbor and most recently, the Gateway area around the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

“There’s a real financial benefit to having a regional stormwater facility (RSF),” said County Administrator Barry Burton.

The county has recently focused a significant amount of time and money on improving Lealman, which sits about six miles northeast of downtown St. Petersburg. Levy began the discussion by explaining the latest redevelopment efforts in the traditionally low-income and underserved Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).

Lealman features two watersheds. To the north is Sawgrass Lake, which Levy explained drains into Tampa Bay. To the south is Joe’s Creek, and that water winds through St. Petersburg before ending in Cross Bayou and Boca Ciega Bay.