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. Culpepper falls just short on 'Survivor' finale

    Human Interest

    In the end, Tampa lawyer Brad Culpepper fell just short, and the ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneer lost Survivor: Game Changers and the $1 million prize to Sarah Lacina, a police officer from Iowa.

  2. Families dispute claims that slain Tampa Palms roommates shared neo-Nazi beliefs

    Crime

    TAMPA — Andrew Oneschuk never liked making small talk on the phone, his father said, but the last time the two spoke, something seemed off.

    Andrew Oneschuk and Jeremy Himmelman lived in a Tampa Palms apartment with Devon Arthurs and Brandon Russell. Oneschuk and Himmelman reportedly planned to move out.
  3. Brad Culpepper makes it to final 3 on Survivor, but jury picks Sarah

    The Feed

    UPDATE, WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Tampa's Brad Culpepper make it to the final 3 on Survivor, but jurors chose Sarah as the winner of the $1 million.

    Original report follows:

    "The Tables Have Turned" - Brad Culpepper, Tai Trang and Hali Ford on the fourth episode of SURVIVOR: Game Changers on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Jeffrey Neira/CBS Entertainment
  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
  5. Tom Jones: Rays made right move sending Blake Snell to minors

    The Heater

    tom jones' two cents

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Blake Snell’s struggles on the mound were only one of the reasons the Rays sent him to the minors; some other red flags existed. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]