Wednesday, January 17, 2018
News Roundup

Coming to Tampa's riverfront — beach volleyball

TAMPA — It's had ice-skating in the winter. Now, for the first time, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park will offer beach volleyball this summer.

The white-sand court is going in this week for Saturday's Tampa Bay Margarita Festival, but it's staying through July 31.

"We thought it would be pretty cool, like an urban beach kind of thing," said Ferdian Jap of Big City Events, which is organizing the margarita fest.

Promoters liked the idea of setting up and then leaving the court behind for a while. When the Tampa Downtown Partnership saw their plans, it was an easy sell.

"We were all like, 'How do we just keep this downtown for the whole summer?' " said Shaun Drinkard, the partnership's director of placemaking. The group hopes volleyball generates more activity for the park and traffic for nearby restaurants, shops and museums.

After Memorial Day, the space is certainly available.

"It's usually a dead time because of the heat, so I think this is great," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. The mayor also likes the idea of bringing something new to the park, which the city and downtown partnership want to keep active, plus hosting a sport that appeals to the young, urban professionals he wants to attract to Tampa.

The court is going on the site of the ice-skating rink, which already has a base of sand under the sod.

Costs are minimal. The promoters are spending about $2,000 to bring in another 20 tons of sand and set up the court. The partnership is spending another $1,500. The city provided labor and temporarily removed the sod (something it does for ice-skating, too).

The court will be 30 by 60 feet, with a 2-foot-tall windscreen to keep sand from blowing away and the ball from rolling onto Ashley Drive. The court will be open for public play on a first-come, first-served basis.

This isn't the first active-sporting experiment Big City Events has brought to downtown Tampa.

In December, the company set up a pop-up driving range in the 500 and 600 blocks of Franklin Street. Six cranes held up a net enclosing the range. Golfers won prizes for hitting a gong at the far end. In one day, the range sold 2,000 buckets of balls.

"Part of our mission as a company is to do cool events that activate downtown and have never been done before," Jap said. "We sit around and think of crazy events."

Richard Danielson can be reached at [email protected], (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

Comments
‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

‘All I see is fire’: 911 calls released from Florida casino boat fire

PORT RICHEY — The first call came into emergency dispatch at 4 p.m. on Sunday from shore, reporting a ‘‘giant’’ boat on fire in the Pithlachascotee River."It’s urgent," the caller said.Others followed quickly, one woman crying as she described from h...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

Gibsonton man faces 50 counts of child porn

GIBSONTON — A 46-year-old man was arrested Wednesday by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on 50 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of promoting a sexual performance by a child.Authorities said they received several tip...
Updated: 2 hours ago

He still has nightmares: Deckhand recalls prior casino boat fire

Cory Byrd said he still has nightmares about the smoke. In them, he is back in the cabin of the Express Shuttle II, scrambling to reach the white rectangle of an open door. The smoke was so thick, he said, you could barely see an outstretched hand. ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Wallaby bounds down Sydney Harbour Bridge; North, South Korea to march as one in Olympics; more in world news

Wallaby bounds down Sydney Harbour Bridge; North, South Korea to march as one in Olympics; more in world news

AustraliaWallaby infiltrates Sydney bridgeA wayward wallaby disrupted downtown traffic by bounding across the Sydney Harbor Bridge on Tuesday with police in pursuit. The adult male was captured without any apparent serious injury and is expected to b...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

Pinellas sheriff, feds announce changes to controversial immigrant detention policy

LARGO — For years, county sheriffs in the United States have faced a quandary when asked by federal officials to hold undocumented immigrants in their local jails. They could continue to hold them for up to two days past the time they were legally fr...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa called Wednesday for artists to send in their ideas for a big piece of public art for the outdoor plaza between one of the $3 billion project’s office buildings and the new University of South Florida Morsani College of Med...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tourism brought in record $112 billion to Florida in 2016

Tourism brought in record $112 billion to Florida in 2016

Tourism brought in a record $112 billion to Florida’s economy in 2016, up about 3 percent from 2015, according to Visit Florida figures released Wednesday. About 10 percent — $88 billion — of the state’s gross domestic product came from tourism in 20...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Apple to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Apple to build 2nd campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Associated PressSAN FRANCISCO — Apple is planning to build another corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers during the next five years as part of a $350 billion commitment to the U.S. that will be partially financed by an upcoming windfall from the c...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Temperatures falling fast; freeze warnings issued for Tampa Bay

Temperatures falling fast; freeze warnings issued for Tampa Bay

UPDATE: The National Weather Service has issued freeze warnings for Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Manatee and Sarasota counties.A cold air mass is moving southward through the Florida peninsula dropping temperatures across the Tampa Bay ar...
Updated: 5 hours ago