Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Tampa City Hall finds no short-cut around Bro Bowl historic review process

TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn can be an impatient guy, especially when he wants to build something.

But when it comes to the Bro Bowl skate park, Buckhorn is learning there's no short cut around a federally required historic review process — even if the city offers to pick up the Bro Bowl and move it to a new home.

That was the message delivered to Buckhorn in a recent letter from Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

"The bureaucracy doesn't move quickly, and I don't think it necessarily reflects either the history or the desires of this community, but we've got to go through their process," Buckhorn said.

So while he's not happy about it , the mayor is not making the kind of provocative remarks he made in October when he criticized the decision of Washington, D.C., officials to put the 35-year-old bowl on the National Register of Historic Places. Then, he said the bowl was "not historical" and "marginally significant." He was itching to send bulldozers to Perry Harvey Sr. Park, which surrounds the bowl, to start a long-planned $6 million redevelopment of the larger park.

In November, Buckhorn wrote Detzner asking for the state to enter into an agreement in which the city would agree to move the Bro Bowl and avoid a new review triggered by the change in boundaries.

The city offered to move the bowl at a cost of $115,000 to $125,000 so that work could begin at Perry Harvey Sr. Park. After years of consultation with black community leaders, City Hall plans to transform the little-used, 11-acre park into a memorial that honors the history of the former Central Avenue business and nightclub district. Officials hoped that moving the bowl would let them start the park project sooner, not later.

Detzner's answer was, in essence, we'll see.

Because the bowl is on the National Register, federal law stipulates that moving it would require state and federal officials to consider whether its listing on the register would be compromised by a move.

But considering that question is premature now because "moving the skate bowl is only one of several options currently being explored," Detzner said this month in a letter to the mayor.

At the moment, one local review already is under way on whether and how the planned redevelopment of Perry Harvey Sr. Park would affect the Bro Bowl. The process, known as a Section 106 review, is required because the city plans to use federal funds — specifically, $2 million from a $30 million housing and urban development grant — on the park. Federal officials don't want to spend money on projects that harm historic resources.

As part of the Section 106 review, local officials are required to come up with a plan to avoid, minimize or mitigate the project's impact on the bowl. Considering those questions is a cultural resource committee consisting of skaters, black residents with ties to Central Avenue, historic preservationists and city officials. An engineering firm has told the city that a move is technically feasible, but it's only one option the committee has discussed.

The committee is making progress, but it takes time for people coming from very different perspectives and positions to understand each other, get beyond their emotional responses and respect each other's opinions, said Ken Hardin, president of Janus Research. Hardin's firm is facilitating the Section 106 review for the Tampa Housing Authority, the recipient of the $30 million federal grant.

Hardin said it helps that the city is supporting the review and the state has given Detzner's chief of review and compliance for historic preservation plenty of time to work with the local committee. Early on, skateboarder Shannon Bruffett, who petitioned to put the Bro Bowl on the National Register, opened the door to a possible move of the bowl, which Hardin said was a big step.

One thing that's under discussion is the way the bowl is used. Access to it is open, it's unsupervised and skaters use it at all hours. That could be a problem if it is left next to the reconfigured and more active features at Perry Harvey Sr. Park.

While an informal decision could come sooner, Hardin said getting all of the necessary sign-offs from state and federal officials probably will take another four to six months.

So at this point, with the Section 106 review of the options under way, Detzner told Buckhorn that "none of the consulting parties would be able to speculate on whether or not moving the skate bowl is the most appropriate option."

For now, city officials aren't pressing the issue.

"We were advised to basically take our foot off the gas," said Bob McDonaugh, the city's top development official. It could be that the city gets a clearer sense of what the schedule and next steps could be in another 30 days, he said.

In the meantime, McDonaugh said, "We are letting the process take its course."

Buckhorn originally was ready to start work at Perry Harvey Sr. Park in November. Then the city moved the start of construction to the first part of 2014. And now? Maybe the spring, he says. Maybe the second quarter of 2014.

"Ultimately, if we emerge from this with the ability to do the park the way we want to do the park, I'm okay with that," Buckhorn said. "I'm not happy with the delay. But when it's all said and done, I care more about the outcome than I do about the process."

Richard Danielson can be reached at (813) 226-3403, [email protected] or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

Comments
Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

The nation’s highest-paying jobs don’t quite track with the fastest-growing jobs in Florida. According to a new study released today by California-based CareerCast, the highest-paying jobs are largely in the medical field and require post-graduate de...
Published: 12/12/17
Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

Lions-Buccaneers Turning Point, Week 14: A coach's future hangs in the balance

TAMPA — The season started in August with “Hard Knocks,” packed bleachers at training camp and cheers for coach Dirk Koetter.It ended Sunday with a 24-21 loss to the Lions, a lot of empty seats and chants of “We want Gruden ba...
Updated: 5 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Dec. 11

Monday’s scoreboardGirls soccerDixie Hollins 4, Boca Ciega 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Countryside 2Osceola 7, Northeast 0Largo 1, Seminole 0Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Northside Chr. 1Palm Harbor U. 4, Countryside 1...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

Winter meetings journal: Rays closer Alex Colome drawing interest

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays made a small deal Monday in acquiring INF Joey Wendle from Oakland while continuing to discuss bigger ones that seem likely to eventually lead to the trade of closer Alex Colome and then others.The Rockies and Mets joined ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Dec. 11, midday:32 251 1266e_SRit91903Mon., Dec. 11, evening:52 400 7181e_SRit23090Fantasy 5Mon., Dec. 11...
Updated: 7 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Emily Joseph and Devin Cosser

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Emily Joseph and Devin Cosser

HomeTeam Hot ShotsEmily Joseph, NortheastJoseph, a senior, has been a deadly shooter since her sophomore year. But this season she has added to her game. "She’s gotten physically stronger and has gained confidence," coach Will White said. "She used t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Florida A&M names Willie Simmons football coach

Florida A&M names Willie Simmons football coach

TALLAHASSEE — Willie Simmons was named football coach at Florida A&M on Monday. The Tallahassee native will be introduced today. Simmons, 37, has been the coach at Prairie View A&M the past three seasons (21-11, including 6-5 this season). He played ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton may hasten Rays’ dismantling

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The latest obstacle keeping the Rays from contending in the American League East loomed even larger Monday afternoon in pinstripes.The Yankees’ formal introduction of Giancarlo Stanton also could be an accelerant to the departure o...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

Residents wonder what’s next after fire destroys Tampa apartments (with video)

TAMPA — When her apartment complex caught fire Monday afternoon, Peaches McIntyre grabbed her four children and baby stroller and ran outside.Hours later, she looked at the smoldering building with her 5-year-old autistic son, Choice Underwood, huggi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
3 Trump accusers call for congressional inquiry; Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist; 18 win anti-Trump climate grants; more in U.S., world news

3 Trump accusers call for congressional inquiry; Pentagon to allow transgender people to enlist; 18 win anti-Trump climate grants; more in U.S., world news

United States3 Trump accusers speak, hoping to be heard nowThree women who have previously accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment shared their stories Monday on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today. Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Rachel Crooks s...
Updated: 8 hours ago