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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 1 year ago

What's in a name?

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For St. Petersburg preservationists, everything.

There's more than just a little irony to be found in a historic preservation group's decision to change its name — but that's exactly what St. Petersburg Preservation has done. The group rebranded itself as Preserve the 'Burg, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its founding.

To be fair, “Preserve the 'Burg” isn't an entirely new moniker. The group had been using the phrase as its official motto for years. But the change signals a shift in tone, if not mission, for the preservationists, who've seen their ranks grow to more than 1,000 as millennial workers have flocked to St. Pete — drawn, in part, to the city's historic charm and well-defined sense of place.

Kyle Parks, principal of St. Petersburg-based B2 Communications and a spokesman for Preserve the 'Burg, led a panel discussion Jan. 30 that focused on historic preservation efforts in St. Pete over the years and also served as the official unveiling of the group's new brand, designed by St. Pete-based marketing and advertising firm Pyper Young.

“The new name signifies a wider range of ages and gives it a more vibrant kind of feel,” Parks says. “It's a group that doesn't want to be seen as just confrontational. It wants to be more collaborative. The group wants preservation but also understands that every situation is different.”

Parks says Preserve the 'Burg's goals will remain the same: to work with city officials, developers and property owners to figure out how, whenever possible, to save historic structures in a city facing a host of land-use demands brought on by rapidly shifting demographics.

However, he says, the group acknowledges that “it's not always possible to save [an historic] structure. Sometimes it's not financially feasible. But the mission of Preserve the 'Burg is to at least be in the conversation, whenever possible.”

Historic preservation, Parks adds, “has no magic answer. It's a complicated issue. This is just Preserve the 'Burg's way of saying that the group continues to grow, and that there are people of all ages who live here and want to keep [the city's historic character].”

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