Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Ybor chamber wants outdoor drinking zone, entrance fee eliminated for Guavaween

YBOR CITY — The next Guavaween could look much different if Ybor's Chamber of Commerce gets its way.

The fences would come down. The outdoor wet zone for alcohol and entrance fee would disappear. And many of the district's businesses couldn't be happier.

Some restaurants and bar owners saw a decline in patronage in recent years during this uniquely Tampa celebration of Halloween. They figured potential customers weren't interested in paying $17, plus parking, to get into a fenced-off zone surrounding their businesses.

Without the outdoor wet zone or fee, there's no need for fences.

"People will come down, just to take a look," said Tampa Bay Brewing Co. owner Vicki Double.

She thinks her restaurant will see more business. So does Green Iguana Bar & Grill manager Bryce McGarvey.

"I'm hoping it will be big," he said.

Ybor chamber president Tom Keating said he has received a lot of support for the proposal, which he filed with the city last week. But, he said he got his first angry email Thursday from someone who wanted to be able to drink in the street.

"They can pop into a bar, they can sit cafeside with any restaurant that has a license," he said. "And there's the balconies."

Though many details need to be worked out, the Ybor chamber is proposing a 40-float parade from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., then a costume contest, followed by live music at six to nine Ybor venues until 1 a.m.

Access to all the music venues would cost $20. Otherwise, Guavaween would be free.

These proposed changes are the most recent in a string of attempts to revive the 26-year-long Halloween tradition, which has seen smaller crowds in recent years. A ban on floats in 2009 and 2010 was meant to bring the event to its pedestrian roots, but it met opposition and organizers saw a decline in attendance. Last year, they allowed floats.

The proposal for this year's changes still needs Tampa City Council support, and it seems the chamber will get it as long as it doesn't require financial support. Event organizers would be expected to continue to pay for extra police officers, paramedics and cleanup services.

"I told them that I really didn't care about the format," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Thursday. "But what I was concerned about was that they continue to pay for those off-duty officers."

City Council member Harry Cohen said he met with members of an Ybor City merchants association about a month ago, and the clear message he got was that Guavaween recently has become a detriment to business in the Latin Quarter.

As a result, Cohen said he is less concerned about the details of any changes — Will drinking on the street be allowed? Will there be a fence? — than about hearing there's a strong consensus in favor of a proposal.

"It's really got to be something everybody buys into," he said. "That, to me, is the threshold question to ask."

Tampa police say they plan to provide the same on-duty police presence, even with an elimination of the wet zone.

"Whether the drinking is inside or out, I think there will still be a large crowd and a large consumption of alcohol," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

And even though drinking wouldn't be allowed in the streets, don't bring the kids, Keating advised.

"The raciness and scariness of the costumes has always created a bit of an issues of transitioning," he said. "We don't encourage a younger crowd."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

Comments
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

RIVERVIEWJaime Rodriguez, 78, popped the question Friday morning but skipped the "getting down on one knee" part."If I get on my knee, you’d have to help me," he told the emcee a moment before asking Luz Rivera to marry him.Rivera, 69, smiled and sai...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Romano: You better hope I’m wrong about flood insurance

Romano: You better hope I’m wrong about flood insurance

Chances are, I’ll go down as the Boy Who Cried Flood.You might have noticed, I’ve been shouting about the imminent calamity of flood waters for quite a few years now. If I wasn’t trying to frighten you into buying flood insurance, I was worrying you ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Delta bans pit bulls as service dogs, sparks backlash

Delta bans pit bulls as service dogs, sparks backlash

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines says it’s no longer allowing passengers to fly with "pit bull type" dogs as service or support animals, a policy that’s being met with criticism by groups that train service dogs and the people who use them.The Atlanta-based...
Updated: 5 hours ago