Monday, April 23, 2018
Politics

Don't mess with the outdoor market

On its best days, this was how a downtown should feel: Crowds of people strolling through an open-air market amid tall buildings, picking up fresh carrots here, a loaf of bread there, perusing handmade jewelry, smelling specialty soaps, tasting local honey, buying a smoothie just poured from a blender by a vendor under a tent.

You had live music and tantalizing food smells and most important, people — a few who even came with dogs on leashes, evidence they were actual residents living in an actual downtown and not fleeing for the suburbs daily at 5 p.m. sharp.

And miracle of miracles, this wasn't even downtown St. Petersburg, home for nearly 10 years to the vibrant outdoor Saturday morning market that is pretty much everything that other outdoor markets dream of being.

No, this was a more modest lunchtime event on Fridays, October to May, in downtown Tampa, and a plucky bit of cityhood all its own.

But is it over? Is Tampa doing that one-step-forward-two-steps-back thing when it comes to progressively evolving as a downtown?

Yes. And, no.

Tiffany Ferrecchia, who ran the market (and notably runs successful markets in Hyde Park and Seminole Heights on Sundays) recently told vendors the downtown Friday event that started in 2008 won't be back come fall. She is disappointed. And it was bad news for those of us who had fallen in love with a certain sterling silver jeweler or a particular lemon pasta you could buy by the scoopful, or who just liked an excuse to go outside on a workday.

I called Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who has added to that downtown vibe with his monthly mayoral food truck rally. "I like the market," he said. "I think there's a place for it."

The question, apparently, is the time and day for it.

The Tampa Downtown Partnership announced its Friday event in the fall will be "Lunch on the Lawn" at a park with food from local restaurants and live music.

Okay, but where's my market?

"Being reinvented," Partnership president Christine Burdick tells me. "Reincarnated. We intend to make it a bigger and better market."

Just not on Fridays. They're considering Saturday or Sunday or a weekday after work. Why?

"Downtown has changed over the last five years, and the market can be better than it was," Burdick says. "That's what we're going for."

Yes, the market had glitches. A couple of restaurants complained that food vendors drew away business, though it seemed to me the crowds it drew balanced that out nicely. And because it was a workday, people shopped for maybe two hours even though it was open four.

A survey is out to determine what market will work best (it's at http://www.research.net/s/GNJNSJX ) and they hope to have it up and running by the fall.

Promise?

Because downtown these days is looking remarkably, well, downtown. We're getting ready for the Republican National Convention (in less than four weeks, if you're counting). But we've also made some long-lasting steps like the gloriously restored and re-opened Floridan Hotel, and a great sprawling park on the river people actually use.

And the kind of market that tells you a place is interesting, and alive, even downtown.

Comments

Sean Hannity, a Trump defender, under scrutiny for real estate deals

Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS)ATLANTA — On his Fox News program last summer, Sean Hannity effused praise for his guest, U.S. Housing Secretary Ben Carson. "I know you have done a good job," Hannity said. "You are a good man."Carson’s presence gav...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

Having Cuba in the name of your company can be a financial risk and there is no solution

With the third largest Cuban American population, Cuba’s culture is celebrated throughout the Tampa Bay area and in a diversity of ways.Flags hang in homes, fashion is worn, music performed, food served.But be wary of honoring that heritage by puttin...
Published: 04/23/18
Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

Trump says he doesn’t think personal lawyer will ‘flip’

WEST PALM BEACH — President Donald Trump said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to "flip" as the government investigates Cohen’s business dealings. Trump, in a series of tweets fired from Florida o...
Published: 04/21/18

Vive la France: Trump hosts glitzy White House state dinner

WASHINGTON — Now it’s President Donald Trump’s turn to pull off the ultimate charm offensive. Wined and dined on multiple state visits during his tour of Asia last year, Trump is paying it forward and celebrating nearly 250 years of U.S.-French relat...
Published: 04/21/18
Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

Romano: Okay, now who sounds like a hysterical teen talking about guns?

The writer of the letter sounds hysterical. Perhaps a little desperate. And maybe that’s just who Marion Hammer is these days.Most of the world knows her as the take-no-prisoners maven of the National Rifle Association who directs Florida politicians...
Published: 04/21/18
Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

Rick Scott’s term limits idea: Hugely popular and highly unrealistic

WASHINGTON — Gov. Rick Scott’s first policy idea as a U.S. Senate candidate won’t happen and most of his fellow Republicans don’t support it.But it’s a surefire applause line at political rallies.Scott wants term limits for members of Congress: 12 ye...
Published: 04/23/18
Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

Ex-FBI deputy director ‘disappointed’ in Comey comments

WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, is "very upset and disappointed" by comments made by his former boss James Comey that contradict his account of a disclosure to the news media, McCabe’s lawyer said Friday. "Andy has at all ...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure.Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next mayor, h...
Published: 04/20/18
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Published: 04/20/18
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18