ARTICLE

Date ArticleType
1/25/2018 Chamber News

St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Asks Legislature to “Pause” on USF Consolidation, Calls for Study

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Morgan Brochetti
Marketing Coordinator
mbrochetti@stpete.com
(727) 388-2908

St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Asks Legislature to “Pause” on USF Consolidation, Calls for Study

JANUARY 25, 2018 | St. Petersburg, FL – The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce requests the Florida Legislature hit PAUSE on the consolidation of USF St. Pete, USF Manatee/Sarasota and USF Tampa.

While this newly formed idea may indeed provide benefits to our students, our region and our state - no one has provided or conducted any due diligence, process or study to understand the impacts to our local community, regional economy and the students served now and in the future. It appears as if this idea has actually surprised our university leaders, our campus leaders, our students and our community leaders.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce requests a formal study of this proposal with inputs from those throughout our region and education system prior to moving this forward. We are concerned with the pace of taking this from an idea to a policy without any public process or due diligence.

As most agree, St. Petersburg has become an amazing story of renaissance and growth for Florida. Our success (as most) comes from a combination of good fortune and great planning. Our community’s economic development strategy “Grow Smarter” was created in 2014 and has been adopted and worked by our city government, our business and community agencies, and our educational partners at every level. We know of no other city in Florida that has created a holistic strategy bringing together all the assets of the community to ensure broad based economic growth. USF and USFSP both play both unique and instrumental roles in this plan as we enhance our place as one of Florida’s top destinations for job seekers and job creators.

Our concern is not with our USF System leadership, our elected representatives, or the idea itself. Our concern is with the lack of process, facts or evidence to prove this indeed is the right direction for our community and our economic development strategies. Every stakeholder group deserves to know more prior to making this major change to the way we have envisioned our future.

We ask for consideration of our request to ensure a study is commissioned in this session and we look forward to working together with our regional partners to bring back in next year’s session the facts, impacts and opportunities of this idea so every stakeholder group can be certain it will indeed provide the best system for our students, city, region and unique community economic development strategies.

About the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®
The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce®, originally founded in 1899, now serves over 1,300 member businesses and organizations. Continually identifying ways to create and enhance opportunities to do business in St. Petersburg, the Chamber works to improve the local economic climate and to build a thriving business environment. The Chamber represents perspectives of local business in St. Petersburg, providing and fostering leadership on important business and community issues. Information is available at stpete.com.

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