TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday approved a $1.1 million construction contract to renovate the long-closed Williams Park Pool in East Tampa.
"The pool will be operational next summer," parks and recreation director Greg Bayor said.
City officials closed the pool in 2009 because of safety problems. Since then, council member Frank Reddick has sparred with Mayor Bob Buckhorn's administration over the schedule for repairs. Late in summer 2011, city officials said a construction contract could be awarded early this year, but the process has taken longer.
In September, the city received 11 bids but ended up rejecting the low bidder because the company did not comply with Tampa's women and minority business opportunity policies. The city then went with the next lowest bidder, Taborelli Construction of Tampa.
Council members were pleased, but wanted to verify that this time, it really was happening.
"I want to make sure that .... we're going to see a pool at Williams built and that there are no other things that are holding it up," council member Mike Suarez said. "I wanted to make sure that the money that we're providing finally is going to actually build a pool."
"We'll have a wet summer over there," Bayor said.
In other business, council members approved:
• Paying $17,500 over two years to The Network Inc. of Norcross, Ga., to establish and manage an internal hotline and website where the city's 4,200 employees could anonymously report waste, fraud and ethical lapses.
• Paying $65,000 to Svetlana Savacenco, 28, of New Hampshire to settle her lawsuit alleging that she was falsely arrested hours before the Super Bowl in 2009.
Savacenco and her husband, James DiZoglio, 48, were arrested on charges of trying to sell counterfeit tickets to three Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Charges against both were dropped after the NFL confirmed the tickets were in fact real.
A federal judge threw out most of DiZoglio's claims against the city on the grounds that police had reason to believe the tickets were fake after an NFL-issued scanner erroneously red-flagged them as suspect. But the city offered to settle with Savacenco, who did nothing more than sit in the car while her husband negotiated the sale.
• An agreement to accept a $10.9 million federal transportation grant to complete the Riverwalk and create a multiuse "greenway" trail under the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
The agreement, which still must be signed off by state and federal officials, will allow the city to move ahead on the last two unfinished sections of the Riverwalk. One section will go south from Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park under the Kennedy Boulevard Bridge. The other will go north from the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts to Water Works Park.
Design and construction are expected to take place in the next year, and officials expect both sections to be done by spring 2015.