Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

VM Ybor leader asks when pool will reopen and crime be tamed

Kim Headland, president of the VM Ybor Neighborhood Association, with husband Rich and children Jack and Will.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Kim Headland, president of the VM Ybor Neighborhood Association, with husband Rich and children Jack and Will.

Cuscaden Pool was the well-used jewel of the VM Ybor community when it was built at Cuscaden Park in 1937. It was rehabilitated and restored, thanks in large part to a federal grant. The official reopening came in 2005 — much to the delight of residents.

Unfortunately, the historic pool and community facilities, weight room, classrooms, exercise rooms, etc., were opened for just five seasons before being closed due to water infiltration and pool filtration problems. In addition to the pool, this facility housed an after-school program that was extremely beneficial to the community. The pool will be closed for at least another season, with no commitment from the city for funding or a timetable for repairs. Once plagued by arson and now a high vacancy rate, this area has a lack of public amenities that makes it exceptionally difficult to draw businesses and new residents to live in this great, diverse and historic neighborhood.

Prostitution and drug issues have had a significant, negative impact on the quality of life in our community, especially along the Nebraska Avenue corridor. While the community is working very hard with the Tampa Police Department, code enforcement, etc., to address these issues, it seems to be an uphill battle that has spanned decades and significantly deters and slows private investment (residential or commercial) in our community. Conditions can only improve if the city 1) works with various agencies to assist and support law enforcement's efforts and 2) reviews and enforces current zoning laws and city ordinances as related to boardinghouses and known drug houses.

The city responds

In 1997, Cuscaden Pool was closed for renovations and to repair leaks. It reopened in 2005, but the leaks were back within several years. So the city closed the pool in 2010. Many at that time speculated that the work done in 2005 was faulty, said David Vaughn, Tampa's director of contracts administration. The pool will not open this summer while city officials continue to assess repairs. It could open next year, he said, although that isn't certain.

"I'm sure neighbors are frustrated," Vaughn said, acknowledging that the process has moved slowly. "But these issues are somewhat complex and we want to make sure we do it right."

Older pools require more maintenance and this one has structural damage from shifting concrete, Vaughn said. The shell and deck are cracked and were leaking, as was the old sand filter system.

These problems resulted in "lots of water loss," Vaughn said. The Parks and Recreation department decided it would not be economically or environmentally responsible to keep operating the pool. Officials hired a consultant to make recommendations for repairs and modifications to bring the pool up to new health department codes.

The pool, with its historic features, is locally designated as a landmark and is similar to the Roy Jenkins Pool on Davis Islands. Both have bathhouses around the perimeter below the deck. The Jenkins pool is being renovated, and Vaughn said staffers are learning along the way and hope to use the knowledge in repairing Cuscaden. It's a matter of balancing historic preservation with new technologies for water conservation and operation efficiencies, he said.

The parks department has not yet fit Cuscaden renovations into its budget and overall pool plans. The last renovation cost $3 million at a time when construction of a new pool cost $1 million.

A spokeswoman for Tampa police did not respond by press time this week. But City Council member Frank Reddick, whose district includes VM Ybor, said he is aware of the issues Headland raised.

He said he thought police had made progress battling prostitution and drugs there.

"I can understand their frustration," he said of residents. "Maybe we need to direct some more law enforcement in that area."

Reddick, who heads the city's public safety committee, said he will request a status report on the efforts in the area from Tampa police.

Elisabeth Parker, Times staff writer

. Fast facts

About this series

With changing faces at City Hall — from the City Council to the mayor's office — City Times wanted to know which neighborhood concerns will face our new leaders and their ideas for resolution. So we asked community leaders to tell us. Throughout the spring, we'll publish those concerns, in residents' own voices, along with responses from officials. If you want to submit a letter of concern for consideration for Your Voice, please send it to City Times editor Sharon Tubbs at tubbs@sptimes.com or by mail to 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602.

VM Ybor leader asks when pool will reopen and crime be tamed 04/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Winner and loser of the week in Florida politics

    Blogs

     Winner of the week

    Peter Antonacci. Gov. Rick Scott tapped his go-to utility player to lead his Florida job recruiting agency, Enterprise Florida, having previously picked him for his general counsel, to lead the South Florida Water Management District and to serve as Palm Beach state …

  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 19: A peregrina spends the whole day under the weather, and part of the day under the table

    Travel

    Day 19: El Burgo Ranero to Puente Villarente: 25.4 km, 7.5 hours (Total for Days 1-19 = 454 km (282 miles)

    This list pretty much sums up my day:

    Eat two bananas

    Walk 13.1 kilometers

    Nap

    Walk 6.2 kilometers

    Nap

    Eat half an apple

    Walk 6.1 kilometers

    Crash< …

  3. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  4. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  5. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.