'Retention ponds' — out. 'Community lakes' — in
When the Westshore Alliance presented its proposed master plan to the Tampa City Council, one thing that intrigued council members was the idea of creating a major public space along the large pond in front of International Plaza. West Shore might even end up with a venue for outdoor events, something it doesn't have now.
"Terrific concept," council member Harry Cohen said. "We're starting to rethink things like retention ponds and recognize that they can be part of recreational amenities."
That's when Trent Green, who was presenting the plan, offered the emerging term for, well, a big hole in the ground dug to hold runoff from thunderstorms.
"We're trying to dispel the idea, or rather the term, retention ponds," said Green, an associate professor of architecture and urban design at the University of South Florida. "We'd like to refer to them as community lakes. We're trying to instill that in our parks and recreation department and storm water department."
"I will remember that, and I will start referring to them as community lakes, I promise," Cohen said.
It all reminded council chairman Charlie Miranda of his days growing up “in the housing projects” — specifically at 1860 Cano Court, in the long-gone Tampa public housing complex known as Ponce de Leon Courts.
“I called them condominiums,” he said.