Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa approves removing some rowing teams' graffiti along Hillsborough River

Graffiti that include rowing team logos will be scrubbed from 650 feet of seawall from the Kennedy Boulevard bridge north to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park’s southern edge.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Graffiti that include rowing team logos will be scrubbed from 650 feet of seawall from the Kennedy Boulevard bridge north to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park’s southern edge.

TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday night voted to allow a clean scrubbing for a 650-foot stretch of riverfront seawall now painted over with about two dozen rowing team logos, a half-dozen roughed-in Greek fraternity names and a couple of four-letter words.

The city will pay $40,000 for the project, with another $40,000 coming from the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants the wall cleaned because the city plans to install interactive underwater lights — they will change color as people walk by — along the Riverwalk as part of the Lights On Tampa 2015 public art program.

Speaking in favor of the graffiti were several residents and a trio of collegiate rowers who said the rowing logos help define Tampa's character and are worthy of preservation. Destroying them, 20-year-old Alex Posada said, would send an unwelcoming signal to teams that visit to train on the Hillsborough River.

"Rowing is one of those odd but cool aspects of Tampa's culture," said Francis Migliore, 19, a former Berkeley Prep rower who is now a sophomore rower at Colgate University. "It's one of the things that make us different from, say, Orlando or Miami."

On the other side, supporters of the proposal included a major downtown developer, the building manager of a downtown office tower, officers of the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership and the president of the Stewards Foundation, which coordinates visits from visiting college rowing teams. Stewards president Tom Feaster said it's much more important that the public get a chance to see the grace and discipline of the sport of rowing up close, like from the vantage point of the Riverwalk, than to see the rowing team logos on that one section of seawall.

One project supporter said the seawall paintings should be considered vandalism that would destroy the waterfront as a destination if allowed to remain.

"Crew art and graffiti don't belong on our new front door, our new beautiful Riverwalk," said Troy Manthey, owner of Yacht Starship Dining Cruises in Channelside. "No one should be allowed to freely paint and deface public and private property."

Council member Yvonne Yolie Capin argued to preserve the graffiti, saying 99 percent of the emails she's received on the issue have come from young people, "the kind of people we are trying to attract to our city."

"We should be promoting it, not erasing it," she said. "It is part of our tradition. It is part of who we are. It is organic, it is traditional, it is unique."

The council voted 6-0, with Mary Mulhern absent, to approve the expenditure. Council members also pressed city staff to document the logos to be erased, perhaps with an eye to replicating them elsewhere along the river. Capin supported the proposal after the council pressed to add language to its approval limiting the work to the 650 feet of seawall from the Kennedy Boulevard bridge north to the southern edge of Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

City officials say they never intended to go any further or erase rowing graffiti on other parts of Tampa's 10,600 feet of seawall.

"There's a perception out there that we're going to pressure-wash the entire both banks of the river, which we're not," Buckhorn said before the vote. "No desire to do it."

Buckhorn said he's a fan of the rowing team graffiti in general, but the seawall that will be next to the Riverwalk has some offensive language that's "clearly inappropriate" as well as some graffiti with no aesthetic value.

"Drunken fraternity guys painting on the wall is not art," he said. "I like the crew art. It's just not appropriate at that location, and that's all we're going to clean."

Tampa approves removing some rowing teams' graffiti along Hillsborough River 08/21/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2014 11:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]