Home / Government / 2017 Safety Harbor election candidate profile: Damon Lister

2017 Safety Harbor election candidate profile: Damon Lister

Damon Lister. Credit: Damon Lister.
Damon Lister. Credit: Damon Lister.

2017 Safety Harbor election candidate profile: Damon Lister (Seat 1)

  • Name: Damon Lister
  • Age: 34 yrs old
  • Place of birth: Clearwater, FL
  • Moved to Florida/Safety Harbor: Pinellas County born and raised, Lived in Safety Harbor 2 years
  • Professional background: Market Research/Public Affairs Director at Nielsen (Global Market Research firm) for 7 years, Presently – Broker Associate, REALTOR® for 4 years at Park Property Group
  • Civic background (organizations, volunteer work, boards, etc.…): Deacon at Calvary Church; Eckerd Youth Alternatives/ Florida DCF Certified Foster Parent; Leadership Pinellas graduate; Pinellas Realtor Organization Leadership Institute graduate; American Heart Association Team Captain; Real Estate Committee for Pinellas Habitat for Humanity; Tampa Bay Business Journal Honoree “Top 30 Professionals Under 30 yrs old” (2011)
  • Campaign website/Facebook page: Facebook.com/DamonListerForSHSeat1
  • Email/phone: dlister@parkpropertygroup.com / 727-642-1758

What made you decide to run for Safety Harbor City Commission?

My passion for our city, willingness to serve the residents and visitors, ability to add value to the Commission with a fresh perspective/energy, and time spent in Leadership Pinellas gaining deep knowledge about our county and connecting with other municipal leaders.  We need quality folks in elected office who have steadfast values and a track record for making a positive difference in the lives of others.  We need leaders who will listen to the voice of the community and work with stakeholders to take appropriate action to keep our city moving forward.  We need a diverse group of city leaders who will proactively work with residents and current business owners and plan for future needs/growth.  I have these attributes, and I am ready to lead and move our town forward.

What do you think is the most important issue facing Safety Harbor today?

The biggest opportunity for Safety Harbor today is to increase the vibrancy in our downtown district, there are too many vacancies, not enough support from the city to the existing businesses, and not enough collaboration with building/land owners.  It is imperative that our city take a collaborative and proactive approach to economic development in our downtown district.  This is my #1 priority, from day 1.

What are your thoughts on the state of the downtown development in as it relates to businesses as well as residential properties (i.e. smart growth)?

We have an incredible opportunity for increased collaboration with businesses and residents in the downtown area. I support the Smart Growth principles, and I am in favor of exploring an additional resource to the City’s Community Development department, one that will be laser-focused on engagement between internal city stakeholders and building owners/landlords/land owners, investors/developers and entrepreneurs to drive economic growth downtown.

What is your position on the R2 lot setbacks issue?

I am in favor of less government demands and regulation and believe we should prioritize protecting private property rights.  As such, I would have opposed the most recent ordinance implementing increased setbacks.

What would you like to see happen with the Firmenich property?

I would support light industrial, office, and/or mixed-use development on the Firmenich property.  As I mentioned at the Candidate Forum, this property is one of Safety Harbor’s single biggest opportunities, and I believe our city needs a more hands-on approach to identifying the right buyer of this site. With the commercial real estate market trending up, now is the time!  We need all hands on deck to focus on this site, and Safety Harbor must recognize that it is a critical stakeholder (and beneficiary) in the future of this property.

What would you like to see happen with future development of the Waterfront Park?

I would support additional Waterfront Park amenities added to the Capital Improvement Plan, such as benches, pavilion, small-scale amphitheater and a water feature.  The Waterfront Park has the potential to be a major destination spot for mid Pinellas County and a business driver for our local merchants!

If you could do one thing to stimulate economic growth in the city, what would it be?

Bring 2-3 anchor businesses to our city, (for Ex. a “Frenchy’s at the Harbor”), which would significantly increase pedestrian traffic to local merchants, business and restaurant owners.

Name an issue you believe is not getting the attention it deserves or that is especially meaningful to you

It is vital that city leaders be responsive to the needs of the entire community and continue to enhance the services provided in an efficient, cost-conscious manner.  Our Library, Leisure Services, Fire department and other services do a tremendous job today, and it is important for our leaders to continue to seek input and be responsive to residents across the entire geography of our city.

If you were to be elected on March 14, what would your priorities be for the city, and what are your long-term goals for Safety Harbor’s future?

When elected, I vow to serve this community with the same zeal, zest for life and passion that I have for my family and career.  Working with the City Manager, Department heads, and Commission leaders, I will lead and steer the city in the direction to achieve the community’s vision.  I will engage with the residents to understand their sentiments, and ultimately make decisions to serve the needs of the community and increase the quality of life of our residents, businesses, and visitors.

Any final thoughts?

Safety Harbor is an absolute gem of a town, one that is highly sought after by individuals/families and visitors.  I am committed to generating positive momentum for our city, serving residents today and thinking about generations in the future that will inherit our town.  As a responsible leader, I will balance the city’s budget, plan for future infrastructure needs, protect our natural assets and be a good steward of our environment.  There is an incredible opportunity at this stage to create a more vibrant downtown district while preserving the charm factor that our town offers its residents and visitors. It is critical that we elect city leaders who are passionate about our town who will work tirelessly to provide top-notch services, support and promote our local businesses, and take a proactive approach to economically developing our Main St.


  1. Main Street is so sad!!! Glad that is a priority of yours! I don’t know why store spaces are empty, but you should be in the know. More vigorous promotion ?? I’m tired of hearing about not wanting to change the charm factor. If not growing, it’s dying. As a 77 y.o. Resident, I think I speak for all ages., when I say we need more vitality downtown!

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