Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Macfarlane Park landmark gets new life

WEST TAMPA — For more than 100 years, the gazebo on the hill at Macfarlane Park has been the focal point of family picnics, birthday parties, political forums and countless hours of idle play for generations of West Tampa children.

It had deteriorated in recent years, showing gaping holes in its rotting ceiling, and Jerry Scaglione feared that the neighborhood would lose its landmark. He and fellow members of the Macfarlane Park Association appealed to the city, which recently added an entire new roof to the structure.

"This is like the diamond in the park. This is our jewel,'' Scaglione said.

The original pavilion, built of wood, opened on April 25, 1909, the same year that West Tampa founder Hugh C. Macfarlane donated the land for the park. It was replaced years later by a stucco-over-block structure, which was refurbished in 1957, the same year the terrazzo floor was added.

"I remember the political events here, the barbecues and spaghetti dinners,'' said Scaglione, 56, who grew up playing in the park.

Marietta Maniscalco, 54, who attended nearby Villa Madonna Elementary and Tampa Catholic High School, remembers all the birthday parties. They would have cake from Olympia Bakery and pizza from Alessi Bakery.

"I have just wonderful memories of running up and down that hill, having potato sack races,'' she said. "That was the park to go to.''

James Leone, 76, who lives in the same West Tampa home he was born in, has been a patron of the park all his life. He still takes his daily walk there, climbing the stairs to the gazebo as part of the routine. He remembers the picnics and parties, even a 1981 processional to the gazebo staged by his church, St. Joseph's Catholic, to honor Our Lady of Fatima.

"It's really a precious thing,'' he said.

The city spent $61,100 in capital improvement funds to replace the roof on the gazebo, said Greg Bayor, director of parks and recreation. Work started in February and is complete except for the installation of the ceiling light fixture, which he said is scheduled for next week.

The next goal, Scaglione said, is to repair the terrazzo floor, which has long cracks, badly patched, running through it. He said perhaps the city and the association could work together to fund the repairs.

"You can't get rid of the cracks,'' he said, "but at least you can cover them better.''

Philip Morgan can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3435.

Comments
Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  — The Russians finally have a gold medal at the  Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater.Alina Zagitova won one of the Games' spotlight events Frida...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 22

Thursday’s scoreboardSoftballBoca Ciega 4, Pinellas Park 2Admiral Farragut 7, Northside Christian 1Boys tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Clearwater Central Cath. 4, Jesuit 3Girls tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Boys basketballClass 3A, region semifina...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally, managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighte...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 10 hours ago