Make us your home page
Instagram

Bloomingdale throng serves Higginbotham a big box of angst

Of the 44 who addressed Al Higginbotham,
some were brutally blunt.

Of the 44 who addressed Al Higginbotham, some were brutally blunt.

BRANDON — County Commissioner Al Higginbotham made good on his promise Monday night to listen to a group of residents who oppose a planned big-box development next to their Bloomingdale neighborhoods. What he heard from the more than 400 people at the Brandon Recreation Center, and from 44 who publicly addressed him, was that they want action.

The residents understand that the site development process for a 43.5-acre plan including a big-box store, 261 residential units, restaurants and more is past the point of zoning and public input, but they don't accept it. One by one they told Higginbotham why the plan to bring this to an undeveloped plot of land next to the Bloomingdale Regional Library is bad.

"I thought it was a good exchange," Higginbotham said. "We are urging this developer to meet with the public, and will continue to encourage them to meet with the public and with the commission."

Calling the development "Al's Big Box" and "Al's Bloomingdale Walmart," they blamed him and Hillsborough county commissioners for allowing it to happen during a 2011 rezoning process that converted the land, originally zoned for big-box and residential use in 2003, to a mixed-use development.

At times, the speakers grew intense. One demanded that Higginbotham look him in the eye when he spoke to him. Another pulled out his wallet and offered the commissioner cash, insinuating that Higginbotham had been influenced by Redstone, the developer of the project.

Several said they would throw their support behind Higginbotham's opponent in the upcoming election. He represents the eastern part of the county but is running for a countywide commission seat in 2014. School Board member April Griffin and Tampa council member Mary Mulhern also have filed to run for the seat.

Residents from communities near Bloomingdale High School and the Campo Family YMCA took turns citing traffic, safety, environmental and economic apprehensions. Many offered potential legal remedies, and the organization behind the meeting, Coordinated Active Neighborhoods for Development Organization, or CAN-DO, distributed media kits to reporters with maps, news clippings and documents pertaining to the issue.

They even suggested the county buy the land for about $3.2 million and convert it to a park.

"This has been an interesting night," Higginbotham told the residents. "This isn't easy for me, but somebody has to come out here and start the dialogue. When I see something that is not right, I try to find a way to right it."

Higginbotham said Redstone has until August to submit its final detailed plans for the development.

Otherwise it will not be approved.

Times staff writer Caitlin Johnston contributed to this report. Eric Vician can be reached at [email protected]

Bloomingdale throng serves Higginbotham a big box of angst 06/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 6:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Carrollwood fitness center employs scientific protocol to help clients

    Business

    In 2005, Al Roach and Virginia Phillips, husband and wife, opened 20 Minutes to Fitness in Lakewood Ranch, and last month they opened the doors to their new location in Carrollwood.

    Preston Fisher, a personal fitness coach at 20 Minutes To Fitness, stands with an iPad while general manager/owner Angela Begin conducts an equipment demonstration. The iPad is used to track each client's information and progress. I also included one shot of just the equipment. The center recently opened in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  2. Olive Tree branches out to Wesley Chapel

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — When it came time to open a second location of The Olive Tree, owners John and Donna Woelfel, decided that Wesley Chapel was the perfect place.

    The Olive Tree expands its offerings of "ultra premium?€ extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) to a second location in Wesley Chapel. Photo by Danielle Hauser.
  3. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  4. New York town approves Legoland proposal

    News

    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  5. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate

    By WAVENEY ANN MOORE

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]