A New Sanitation Building for a World-Class Team

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A New State-of-the-Art Sanitation Building for a World-Class Team

The City of St. Petersburg and Mayor Kenneth T. Welch held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new, state-of-the-art Sanitation Department complex on Wednesday, Feb. 15. The new Sanitation complex will be at the same location as the existing Joseph E. Savage complex which is located at 2001 28th St. N.

Speakers included members of St. Petersburg City Council, Mayor Kenneth T. Welch, and Sanitation Director Willie Joseph. Family members of the late Joseph Savage and the late Benjamin F. Shirley, Sr., who were history-makers in the St. Petersburg Sanitation Department, also participated in the ceremony.

“Today, you’ll hear about multi-million-dollar facility that is needed and critical for Neighborhood Health & Safety. The design and technology incorporate some of the most Innovative solutions,” said Mayor Ken Welch. “But when you think about what’s truly Impactful here – I also want you to think about all the talented men and women who’ll be operating and running the state-of-the-art equipment. They are the true gems coupled with this groundbreaking today.”

Sanitation staff will be working through the construction. Disruptions to sanitation services (e.g., trash, recycling, and storm debris collection) are not anticipated.

You can view the full album of event photos here and the event recap video here.

About the New Sanitation Building
The new complex will be a 18,600-square-foot, two-story building, replacing two 50-year-old buildings. This $14 million project will accommodate both administrative and operational functions of the department and will serve as an emergency operations sub-center. Sustainability is a major focus of this project. The new solar-powered building will have the goal of achieving net-zero energy consumption and meeting the criteria for LEED Gold Certification, which is a designation for projects reaching a high level of sustainability. This project will help the City achieve net zero energy for the first time. The architect on this project is Sweet Sparkman Architects and the Construction Manager is J. Kokolakis Contracting.

About the Current Sanitation Building
The namesake for the Sanitation complex, Joseph E. Savage, was a leader in the strike of hundreds of St. Pete sanitation workers advocating for better working conditions and wages in 1968. The strike lasted 116 days and garnered the attention of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s brother, A.D. King, who visited St. Pete in support of the workers. During the strike, Savage himself faced personal danger from racial tensions stemming from the strike. The strike is seen as a milestone in St. Pete civil rights history, resulting in the City Council passing a law allowing the workers to form a union that was established in 1970.  Savage retired from the Sanitation Department in 1987 after 37 years of service and, in 2006, the Sanitation complex was named the Joseph E. Savage Complex in his honor.

Within the Joseph E. Savage Complex is the Benjamin F. Shirley, Sr. Administration Building. Benjamin F. Shirley was Director of the Sanitation Department and boasted a 48-year career in the Sanitation Department. Under Mr. Shirley's leadership, the City launched St. Pete's first residential curbside recycling program in 2015 and Shirley was a founding member of St. Pete's chapter of the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. He is remembered for his strong leadership, professionalism, generosity, positivity, and dedication to service to the community. The Benjamin F. Shirley, Sr. Administration Building was dedicated in Shirley's honor in 2021.