Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn's annual address set for Kress building

TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn was scheduled to deliver his second state of the city address at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, but not at City Hall or the Tampa Convention Center or even Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the site of last year's speech.

Instead, he was to speak inside the historic but vacant Kress building at 811 N Franklin St.

Built in 1929, the former department store is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been empty for decades, though that didn't stop a party planner from spending a reported $660,000 to convert it and two adjacent buildings into a hot-ticket party space for the week of the Republican National Convention last year.

Buckhorn said he has no big announcement about the Kress, but wants to highlight that it's available for redevelopment.

So it's a safe bet that energizing distinctive Tampa places and spaces will be a big theme of Buckhorn's speech today.

He has plenty of examples to offer.

There's the historic federal courthouse, which a developer is transforming into a boutique hotel with the mayor's enthusiastic blessing. There's also Water Works Park, where the city has worked for more than a year to bring in a riverfront restaurant run by the owner of the Columbia Restaurant. And there's the west bank of the Hillsborough River, where Buckhorn envisions creating a walkable, trendy urban village.

However optimistic, Buckhorn also faces big challenges. Asked last week what he worries about the most, he said, "hurricanes are always top of the list, but I can't control that so I try not to spend a lot of time focusing on it."

That leaves the speed of the economic recovery and its drag on the city's budget. Heading into the 2013-14 fiscal year, Buckhorn has to close a gap of $20 to $25 million between revenues and projected expenses.

"We're still going to have a difficult budget year this year," he said. "So in spite of all the good things that are going on, we still lag in revenue collection."

This will be the third budget where Buckhorn's administration has started with a shortfall that big or bigger. (It was $27.8 million last year and $34.5 million two years ago.) He expects to close the gap this year in "half-million-dollar increments." That could mean delaying capital improvement projects or "sweeping" the escrow accounts of some projects that are winding down and still have money unspent.

"All the low fruit has been picked," he said. "This year, potentially, the decisions will be a little more painful."

Layoffs?

"Don't know," Buckhorn said. "I was able to not do it the first two years. I'm hopeful that I won't have to do it this year, but I can't say for sure now that I will be able to."

Asked whether there will be anything about transit in the speech, he said, "there might be."

Buckhorn's speech is free and open to the public, though you don't have to go downtown to hear it live.

It will be broadcast on City of Tampa Television, which is Ch. 615 on Bright House Networks and Ch. 15 on the Verizon FIOS system.

Or you can watch online at tampagov.net. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "CTTV Live Webcast."

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn's annual address set for Kress building 03/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]