Lucinda Grant moves into new role at the city

Lucinda Grant was recently promoted to Recreations Program Manager for St. Pete’s Parks and Recreation Department, a position Thomas “Jet” Jackson held for years.

BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — After working for the city for 36 years in various departments, Lucinda Grant is ready for new challenges. The St. Pete native has recently been promoted to Recreations Program Manager for St. Pete’s Parks and Recreation Department, a position Thomas “Jet” Jackson held for years.

She manages several facilities for the city in her new role, including Azalea Recreation Center, Enoch Davis Center, and the Sunshine Center. As for what she’d like to accomplish, she simply wants to get the word out about the many benefits of the Parks and Recreation Dept.

“I would say my ultimate goal is to make sure that the public is aware of these facilities and what they do,” Grant said, adding that she plans to meet with neighborhood associations and community leaders, “to make sure that they know that the facilities are present and that they’re willing to assist them.”

Grant’s experience as an employee of St. Pete goes back decades, as she started working for the city in the 1980s as a recruiter, mainly for the police and fire departments. It provided an opportunity for her to do background investigations as well as recruitment, and she considers it “one of the best jobs I ever had.”

“I had an opportunity to recruit minority officers,” she recalled. “I worked on the side of the Courageous 12 member, Jimmy King. And I must say, I got the opportunity to recruit my own sister as a firefighter for the St. Petersburg Fire Department.”

Grant helped open doors for many, including her sister, as Black women in the fire department were not commonplace in those days.

“She was one of the first, definitely,” Grant said.

She is currently the Class of 2021 chairperson of Leadership St. Pete (LSP), a division of the St. Pete Area Chamber of Commerce, and is the first female African American to hold that position since 1987. One of the oldest leadership programs in the country, LSP aims to recruit and develop leaders who represent the diversity of the local community.

“It’s a six-month interactive program where individuals get the opportunity to carry on leadership functions through various seminars,” Grant said, adding that each class takes on a community project as well.

Grant’s LSP Class of 2021 selected WestCare’s Mustard Seed Inn for their civic engagement and physical facility improvement project. The Mustard Seed provides transitional housing to homeless adults who have begun recovery from alcohol, drug abuse, and mental illness.

This Friday, Grant gave way to the new chair at LSP, Lindsay Petty, but will stay on to offer guidance, per her three-year commitment. She would like to encourage more African Americans to be a part of LSP.

“I would like the platform that I laid for this year to continue, where there is more equity shown as well as more diversity and inclusion within the Leadership St. Pete,” Grant noted.

She maintains that people are her passion and counts listening and talking to people among her favorite pastimes, making her well-suited in her position at the Parks and Recreations Department. Along the way, Grant has forged some close bonds.

“I believe I’ve made a great deal of friends here while working in the department, to the point where once I got my promotion, one of the young ladies sent me a note and expressed how I have been a great example for them and that they were very proud of me for getting the promotion,” she remembered fondly. “So, I think I’ve made a difference here, and I certainly think that it’s made a difference in my life.”

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com

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