Wednesday, November 14, 2018
News Roundup

Reprieve sought for Tampa's historic Jackson Rooming House

TAMPA — Sixty days.

That's what Linda Saul-Sena says supporters need to secure the future of the fabled but decaying Jackson Rooming House.

"We just need a few more weeks," said Saul-Sena, a former City Council member, told the current council Thursday.

That would give preservationists time to buy the Zack Street house, turn it over to a nonprofit organization and secure the $50,000 needed to stabilize it.

Once the house was no longer in danger of collapsing, the nonprofit could apply for grants and raise funds for a larger renovation, she said. So she asked the council to urge Mayor Bob Buckhorn's administration to hold off on moving to demolish the Jackson House for 60 days.

The two-story house is known for its Who's Who of famous black guests: James Brown. Billie Holiday. Ella Fitzgerald. Nat "King" Cole. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

But city officials say it's a firetrap and a risk to public safety, so immediate action is needed.

In response, the council voted to ask the city attorney's office to contact owner Willie Robinson Jr. about whether he is open to the steps Saul-Sena outlined.

Buckhorn said he thinks the city will have a sense within a week or so whether there's a credible enough plan to justify a delay.

"If this is a realistic proposal where there is real money involved and a real plan and the ability to complete the plan, we're willing to work with anybody," he said. "If this is just more talk by people who don't have the financial resources to get it done, no."

Robinson, 65, has said he cannot meet a Nov. 30 city deadline to fence off the house, submit permit-ready plans to stabilize it and secure liability insurance.

The 24-room structure is on the National Register of Historic Places and Florida's Black Heritage Trail. But it needs an estimated $1.5 million in repairs to its foundation, roof, frame, wiring, plumbing and woodwork.

Separately, 102.5-FM's Bubba the Love Sponge Clem called Thursday for help to try to save the Jackson House. Plastic surgeon Dan Diaco, a guest on Clem's show, offered Botox to wives of contractors who help.

Clem said he wants use his charitable foundation to buy the house for $1 or so, use donated contractor services to restore it, then give it back to Robinson. He said he received $30,000 in cash pledges Thursday.

Times columnist Sue Carlton contributed to this report.

Comments
Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

Wesley Chapel toddler fell into pool, rushed to hospital

The incident took place in the 30600 block of Tremont Drive. The boy was reported to in critical condition.
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Doctor facing malpractice suit wins key appellate court ruling

Appeals court upholds ruling that expert witness doctor was not qualified to render opinion.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas hotels report 6 percent dip in room sales since Red Tide hit

Pinellas County is still on track to break its bed-tax collection record, even though Red Tide has showed little sign of letting up.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Slain father: ‘If something happens to me, it’s going to be my son.’

Friends mourn the loss of Jim Costello, who said he feared his son. Tarpon Springs police say the son fatally shot his father after a fight over a dog.
Updated: 2 hours ago
All-girls school teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with 14-year-old

All-girls school teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with 14-year-old

Science teacher Jason Osborne is accused of engaging in an inaproproiate relationship with a 14-year-old student at Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy in Tampa.
Updated: 2 hours ago

One arrested after Tampa shooting leads to pursuit, crash

Another is on the run after Tampa police said a shooting led to a high-speed pursuit which led to a crash.
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

Rays’ Blake Snell wins AL Cy Young award

ST. PETERSBURG – Blake Snell won 21 games for the Rays during a remarkable breakout season, then got his biggest victory Wednesday night when he was voted the American League Cy Young award winner.Snell finished ahead of two previous winners, H...
Updated: 2 hours ago
‘Zack’ Chronister, son of Hillsborough’s sheriff, gets prison time for knife attack

‘Zack’ Chronister, son of Hillsborough’s sheriff, gets prison time for knife attack

A circuit judge sentenced George Zachary Chronister to 22 months in prison for stabbing and slashing the face of another man during a 2017 fight.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Buccaneers All-22: Tony Dungy wants to know what happened in the debacle against Washington. Here are the answers, coach

Stop blaming the play-caller. Dirk Koetter wasn’t the reason why Tampa Bay scored only three points.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough to be a dumping ground for clay from Hardee County phosphate mine

Hillsborough County Commissioners on Wednesday voted 4-2 in favor of a controversial request by Mosaic to dump clay from its Ona Mine into the Four Corners Mine in southeast Hillsborough County.
Updated: 4 hours ago