St. Petersburg Police Athletic League may get $2 million from state for renovations

school textbooks
Feeding Tampa Bay FRESHforce is likely to also get a funding boost.

The Police Athletic League of St. Petersburg may receive $2 million from the state for renovations, at least according to the latest House offer from the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, which was given on Sunday.

Now, it’ll be up to the Senate, which already slated $250,000 for renovations to the group’s facility in its initial proposal.

Sen. Darryl Rouson and Rep. Chris Latvala filed the respective appropriation requests (SF 1223, HB 2507) for the center, which provides an after school space for at-risk kids. The lawmakers hope that renovations could create more space and allow more children to participate.

Last year, the Legislature approved $300,000 for the non-profit, a pittance compared to the $2 million requested this year. The funds would likely cover the entire cost of the renovations, according to the requests.

The non-profit works with the St. Petersburg Police Department, University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus and St. Petersburg College to provide a safe place for children to go when they are not in school. While at the center, kids receive a healthy snack and dinner, homework help, literacy and math tutoring, sports and recreation, mentoring and more.

The funds would be used to renovate the second floor of the building in order to increase usable square footage. The goal, according to the request, is to provide more at-risk children in the community literacy and math tutoring through after school and summer programs.

Other education programs around Tampa Bay looking for funds this year include Feeding Tampa Bay’s FRESHforce Program. Sen. Janet Cruz and Rep. Jackie Toledo filed the requests (SF 1303, HB 2163) for the program, asking for $400,000 from the state to increase funding for the workforce training program, especially amid COVID-19 woes.

Last year, lawmakers successfully secured $255,000 for the program. 

The House initially left the item out of its budget proposal, but returned to the Senate, which had included the program, with an offer that included full funding.

Feeding Tampa Bay FRESHforce is a coalition of nonprofits, government and businesses that work to provide training to food insecure individuals with barriers to employment.

The non-reoccurring request would provide funding for salaries — $333,935 would be divided among the chief program officer, the finance and human resource offices, the assistant program director, warehouse staff and scholarships. Of the remaining amount, $63,565 would go to training supplies and $2,500 would be used for Hunger Action Alliance research.

The $400,000 from the state would fund about 58% of the project, with remaining funding ($287,500) coming from other private donors.

The program provides certification in culinary arts, warehouse logistics and commercial driving for residents in Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sumter counties.

Business partners are involved in the program’s curriculum via “Industry Councils” that hire skilled participants.

According to the funding request, the average starting salary for those completing the program is $30,000, making the total financial footprint through this program up to $4.2 million annually.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


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