Mostly an agricultural community in its early days, the area made its name by producing many of the fruits and vegetables used around the country. When the Great Depression hit, however, the local economy crumbled and many of the area’s more than 2,000 residents left to make a life elsewhere.
Following the Depression, development along south-central Florida’s roads, combined with the rise of nearby St. Petersburg as a major city, contributed to the Pinellas Park area bouncing back to prominence. The population boomed to 11,000 by 1960, to 40,000 by 1985 and to an estimated 47,572 in 2004. As a result of voluntary annexations, the size of Pinellas Park has grown from 7.41 square miles in 1950 to 15.65 square miles in 2003.
Located within the city limits of Pinellas Park are over 3,300 businesses, ranging in size from sole proprietorships to major corporations that employ hundreds of area workers. The Pinellas Park/Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, Inc. serves as the “voice of business” to Pinellas Park businesses, as well as businesses located in the greater mid-Pinellas County area. The Chamber strives to expand its services and programs in order to meet the changing needs of the area’s business community.
Today, Pinellas Park is a progressive, growing community. New development and redevelopment projects, both commercial and residential, are a frequent occurrence in Pinellas Park. The area is secure with a diverse, stable economy and educated, hard-working labor force and Pinellas Park maintains the largest industrial land base in Pinellas County. These factors, along with sustained growth both in terms of population and geographic size, ensure a bright future for Pinellas Park.
Young in comparison to Pinellas Park, the Gateway area has developed over the last three decades into the leading center of business and industry in Pinellas County. The Gateway Chamber of Commerce, Inc. officially became an organized and operated chamber of commerce on January 1, 1993. A small group of emerging business leaders from the Gateway area identified a need to serve the general trade, commerce, and development in the social-economic community commonly referred to as the Gateway area’s business community of Pinellas County, Florida. From a small beginning, the Chamber has expanded their services by providing a variety of educational, networking and business exchange opportunities for in excess of 100 members.
Home to approximately 13,000 residents, the Gateway area has built a solid foundation in recent years upon which this growing community thrives. Planned future development includes over 9 million square feet of office space, 6.5 million square feet of industrial space, and 466,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, over 2,300 hotel rooms and more than 1,500 residential units are expected in the future. With this rate of growth, the Gateway area is looking forward to a future as vibrant and thriving as its past.
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