Tuesday, September 25, 2018
News Roundup

Some upset by proposed change at St. Pete African-American history museum

ST. PETERSBURG — Through budget presentations and academic updates, they waited for an hour and a half, some sitting but many standing, for their chance to speak. Their poster-board signs of protest leaned against a chair in the audience: "DIVIDED WE FAIL," "TALK DON'T TAKE," "TOGETHER IS BETTER."

Nearly 20 angry and frustrated people came to the St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday because of an unexpected power struggle over control of a community museum.

The St. Petersburg Housing Authority owns the building in which the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum operates. On Thursday, the housing authority board is scheduled to vote on whether it will end its relationship with those currently in charge of the museum and instead lease the facility on Ninth Avenue S to SPC, which would open its own African-American museum. Because the Woodson board owns the name, SPC would need a new one.

On Tuesday, because the issue had become so contentious, housing authority commissioners said they would consider postponing the vote.

Woodson board members said they only learned of the possible change in control during a meeting two weeks ago at which staff from the college presented to the housing authority their plan for a new museum. On Monday, Ray Arsenault, a Woodson board member and history professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, referred to the move as a "hostile takeover."

Irions hopes the college will one day buy the building.

The Woodson is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m. According to the board, it has in 2014 hosted five exhibits and more than 20 programs. Its $47,000 budget for this year is supported with federal funds.

The museum, once the Jordan Park management office, was originally set to open in 2004 but didn't until 2006. The renovation of the 4,500-square-foot concrete block building was funded through a federal grant and has been run by the Woodson board since inception.

Supporters say they welcome a partnership with the college but are incensed that the museum might be wholly taken away.

Who first proposed the change in control remains unclear.

Members of the college's board say the housing authority approached them with the idea.

"They asked us to put a proposal together," said Chairman Deveron Gibbons. "To me, that's not a takeover."

Irions said he was "not certain how it actually came about." A spokeswoman later said it came up during a discussion between Gibbons and housing authority chair Delphinia Davis, but that conflicts with Davis' recollection.

"I'm not quite sure who brought it up first," she said. "We got wind that the college was interested in the building."

The fervor at Tuesday's meeting seemed to befuddle SPC president Bill Law.

"How we got to this, I don't have a good answer for you," he said, "and if you know how we got here whisper it in my ear because I can't connect the dots from what we were invited to do versus what our heart is telling us to do versus what we're being accused of doing."

Katie Mettler can be reached at [email protected] John Woodrow Cox can be reached at [email protected]

 
Comments
Crash blocks southbound lanes of I-75 near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

Crash blocks southbound lanes of I-75 near Bruce B. Downs Boulevard

A crash with injuries early Tuesday morning is causing delays southbound on Interstate 75 at Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Hillsborough County.The Florida Highway Patrol responded to a crash blocking two southbound lanes just after 6 a.m. It is unclear...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Flyers introduce 'Gritty,' an odd-looking mascot that's freaking people out

Flyers introduce 'Gritty,' an odd-looking mascot that's freaking people out

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Flyers have introduced an odd-looking new team mascot — a 7-foot fuzzy creature named Gritty with a wild, orange beard.The character's debut triggered an outpouring of comments online, including "Goo...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Citrus County crash kills two, including Port Richey motorcyclist

Citrus County crash kills two, including Port Richey motorcyclist

A Port Richey motorcyclist and pedestrian from Citrus County were killed Monday morning in a crash on U.S. 19 in Homosassa.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 50-year-old Donald Glenn Moore was riding northbound on U.S. 19, near South Suffolk Te...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

TAMPA — At some point Tuesday morning, Jameis Winston will walk into the office of head coach Dirk Koetter and get the news.There will likely be hugs and handshakes, but within the first few minutes, Koetter will tell Winston what his role will...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: The FitzMagic is FitzGone as Bucs fall 30-27; businesses struggle to get Red Tide aid; DeSantis takes shots at media

The Daystarter: The FitzMagic is FitzGone as Bucs fall 30-27; businesses struggle to get Red Tide aid; DeSantis takes shots at media

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• Expect a repeat today of yesterday’s weather pattern: Storms will start inland and push into the coat in the evening hours, according to the National Weather Service. There will be a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Scenes from Monday night’s game: Rally falls just short in Buc’s loss to Steelers

Scenes from Monday night’s game: Rally falls just short in Buc’s loss to Steelers

Fitzpatrick was intercepted on three consecutive passes in the first half to fall behind by 20 points.But the Bucs veteran quarterback rallied the Bucs to within a field goal with touchdown passes to Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in the second half.Unf...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs-Steelers report card: There is still work to be done

Bucs-Steelers report card: There is still work to be done

TAMPA — They couldn't stick the landing. The FitzMagic ran out.Monday night against the Steelers, Tony Dungy night, was supposed to be the coming-out party, a new beginning, the Bucs on national TV, showing America that 2-0 was not make believe...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs-Steelers: No wrong answer for Tampa Bay at quarterback

Bucs-Steelers: No wrong answer for Tampa Bay at quarterback

TAMPA — So this should be a fun week over at One Buc Place.Who's the quarterback?That question will be asked a few times this week.This question will be asked a few dozen times:Who should be the quarterback?The debate will rage on. We'll talk a...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs-Steelers: Tony Dungy gave us more than wins

Bucs-Steelers: Tony Dungy gave us more than wins

TAMPA — Monday night belonged to Tony Dungy. The former Bucs coach was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor at halftime of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dungy's first NFL team.If it seemed strange that an NFL club would honor a ma...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: Sound familiar? Yankees make Monday a ‘Bullpen Day’

Rays journal: Sound familiar? Yankees make Monday a ‘Bullpen Day’

ST. PETERSBURG — In an effort to line up their pitching staff for the postseason, the Yankees stole a page out of the Rays playbook Monday night. New York designated the game  a "bullpen day" and did it ever use its bullpen.RHP Jonathan Ho...
Updated: 7 hours ago