Petersburg today is a town of enormous possibilities and challenges. Its residents are creative, passionate, and resilient. Its history is among the most storied of American cities. It is home to hundreds of historic buildings, many in the midst of being restored by a new generation of residents drawn to the opportunity to live in places of great character at affordable prices. Steven Spielberg filmed Lincoln in Petersburg’s movie-set-ready streets in 2011 and other productions for the big and small screen have followed. And its location just off Interstate 95 means it can attract heritage tourists to help power its resurgence.

While Petersburg is clearly in the early stages of a renaissance, it remains challenged by shockingly high levels of poverty and the health, education, and social ills that accompany it. Much work–important work–remains to be done to ensure Petersburg fulfills its modern potential.