St. Pete preps for Grand Prix

The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg is still a month out, but the process to turn the city from a quiet, waterfront city into a racetrack is underway.
 
Crews began lining up concrete barriers Monday along Bay Shore Avenue.
 
"It's one of the biggest weekends of the city all year, and we really work hard as a city to embrace the race," Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said.
 
For the city it's a chance to boost the economy and highlight what St. Petersburg has to offer. For businesses, it's a potential money maker.
 
"We have a couple of hotel rooms that have already been booked for the couple of days," said Philip Bryan, assistant manager of the new Birchwood hotel and restaurant. It opened in April, and he is anxious to see how they do on race weekend.
 
"Hopefully we're extremely busy," Bryan said. "We're looking forward to it. We're preparing to be busy, and I'm looking forward to everybody coming down."
 
But for some businesses that have been here in years past, the economic boost falls short of expectations.
 
"Honestly, the race doesn't do anything for our business. People just really come for the sport, and they don't really come and shop," Oksana Kiriluka, who works at Uniquely Yours, a fashion boutique not far from where the track will be.
 
City officials said it does its best to mitigate the impact setting up this event has on people who live and work downtown.
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