Science Center of Pinellas property slated for wastewater facility expansion

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The removal of a St. Petersburg landmark could make way for the expansion of a wastewater treatment facility.

Over the decades, tens of thousands of school kids made field trips to the Science Center of Pinellas, which sits on seven acres in the Azalea neighborhood on 22nd Avenue N.

But  the city of St. Petersburg is set to buy the property and hopes to use it to expand the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Center next door.

“I remember going to the science center. They had the first touch screen computers back in the '80s,” says Tessa Marie Holderness,” who lives just down the street.

Officials say the center is in disrepair.

Further, they say only a portion of the land may be needed for the wastewater treatment expansion.

Earlier, officials thought the rest of the land could be used to build affordable housing, but the mayor’s spokesperson, Ben Kirby now says that may not happen.

Kirby says the city is investing $300 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment system - part of an ongoing effort to improve the city's wastewater systems after big storms and heavy rain forced the city to discharge partially treated water into the bay.

Kirby says expansion at the science center property will help to solve the problem.

Neighbors are concerned that if the water treatment plant were to replace the Science Center, it could drive down property values.

One neighbor said downtown St. Petersburg seems to get all the glitz and glamour while Azalea gets wastewater. Kirby says city officials will meet with neighbors as the planning continues.