The 75-foot tall welcome tower that has stood at the west end of the Howard Frankland Bridge on southbound I-275 has been relocated to Pass-A-Grille Beach.
The sign, donated at a cost of $600,000 by local businessman Bill Edwards in 2012, had to be removed to accommodate an extensive project by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) that will see the bridge widened over the next four years.
“We were going to just tear it down. We love to build stuff; rarely do get to tear stuff down so we were really looking forward to that”, says FDOT Project Manager Larry ‘Biff’ Lundike. “But then, in typical 2020 fashion, some nosy do-gooders with nothing better to do than worry about silly, meaningless things got involved.”
Megan Birdner, non-binary chairperson of the St. Pete chapter of Nosy Do-Gooders With Nothing Better To Do Than Worry About Silly, Meaningless Things (NDGWNBTDTWASMT), says, “Of course we got involved. Things like BLM are beyond our scope, in that BLM is actually socially relevant, meaningful and impactful. Caring about this sign however, this sign that has been an integral part of our community since Obama was President, is the kind of cause that’s perfect for us.”
After bombarding the FDOT, the city of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County Commission with emails, texts, petitions and social media posts, it was agreed to pacify the organization by relocating the sign.
“We certainly don’t want to send the message that visitors aren’t welcome in St. Petersburg, so Pass-A-Grille, one of our best beaches is an ideal location”, says St. Pete mayor Rick Kriseman. “Tourists, joggers, baby turtle hatchlings, shipwreck survivors, dying fish, mermaids and mermen. All and more will be greeted with open arms and a big, dumb sign now and forever, or until the tide takes it away.”