On April 26th, The City of St. Petersburg Office on Aging recognized 31 citizens for their exemplary community service benefiting our community at the 35th Annual Senior Hall of Fame awards ceremony. Of the 31 nominated, ten were inducted into the Senior Hall of Fame. Ingrid Comberg was one of those ten inductees.
Ingrid Comberg is a founder, past president, and current resident of the Historic Uptown Neighborhood Association and an integral part of its success today. In the 1980s, crime was a major problem in what was then the Historic Round Lake area resulting in a small group of residents to band together in an effort to improve the neighborhood. An organization called Uptown Neighborhoods- encompassing Crescent Lake, Round Lake, Euclid St. Paul, and Bon Aire- was born. Ingrid played a critical role in this founding group which helped transform the area of north of downtown and bring about a boost in home values by percentages unheard of in the Tampa Bay region, according to articles in the Tampa Bay Times. She worked around the clock with Uptown Neighborhoods, taking on various roles, and helped to start Operation Commitment, an effort by the City to fully commit its departments to work with and improve the neighborhood.
Not one City department was left untouched as Ingrid canvassed meetings on behalf of Uptown. From Code Enforcement and Nuisance Abatement boards to meetings with City Council and then-Mayor David Fischer, Ingrid was there. In those days, two community police officers were assigned to the area, and Ingrid stayed in touch with both, reporting back weekly to Uptown’s board of directors for a two-year period to bring stabilization to the area.
When she thought the neighborhood wasn’t conforming to her vision nor getting a proper response from the City’s management and police departments, she lobbied to change the City charter to a strong mayor form of government, then working behind the scenes to initiate re-zoning to allow newly conceived live-work artist space around Historic Round Lake Park.
Ingrid’s work didn’t stop with the Uptown boundaries. She worked tirelessly with St. Anthony’s Hospital to improve what was then called Bon-Aire. She was also a representative to the Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) and played a role in starting CONA’s Leadership Program more than 25 years ago, a program that has produced countless neighborhood leaders who have gone on to become state legislators and City Council members. When Childs Park neighborhood formed a Crime Watch, Ingrid brought them orange hats to wear and marched alongside them.
Today, neighborhoods closest to downtown St. Petersburg are highly desirable. The once abandoned and blighted homes are now filled with families, professionals, artists and more. Ingrid Comberg was a major catalyst for this transformation, and no one is more deserving of the Senior Hall of Fame induction than she is. Ingrid was proudly nominated by HUNA and Wayne Atherholt. In addition to the recognition and award presented by Mayor Kriseman, she’ll receive an honorary Key to the City.
Thank you, Ingrid.