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Friend says Dick Greco will run for Tampa mayor

TAMPA — With Dick Greco still mum on his supposed re-run for Tampa mayor this spring, one of his close friends says it's a done deal.

"I don't think it's any secret," said Joe Chillura, former Tampa City Council member and Hillsborough County Commissioner, when questioned by a reporter Saturday. "Besides, if it is a secret, it isn't anymore."

Speculation about Greco vying for his old job has swirled for months. But Chillura said it wasn't until a private poll in November put Greco on top of a hypothetical nine-way race that Greco made his decision.

Chillura said a formal announcement will come at a Monday night press conference at the InterContinental Hotel at West Shore and Kennedy boulevards.

Until then, Greco's keeping quiet.

"I'll let the press know on Monday exactly what I'm doing. As of right this minute I'm not a candidate and I'm not campaigning," Greco said Saturday.

Chillura said he's confident in his friend's chances.

"I always tell people, fairy tales can come true if you're young at heart," Chillura said. "That's probably an excellent description of him. He's a young man's thinker with an old guy's experience."

Greco, 76, served as mayor for 15 years, from 1967 to 1974 and again from 1995 to 2003. He presided over the development of entertainment and retail complex Centro Ybor. He lobbied for a community investment tax that helped build Raymond James Stadium, bought riverfront property in the city and unveiled plans for a new art museum that was later scaled back by current Mayor Pam Iorio.

He pondered another run for mayor in 2007 but eventually decided not to challenge Iorio's re-election. After eight consecutive years, Iorio has reached her term limit.

Greco was widely popular during his tenure, but the sour economy will bring added pressure and other changes to the job.

Chillura doesn't see that as a problem.

"He has enough experience and knows enough people to advise him that I think he could do a very credible job again," Chillura said.

If he does formally throw his hat in the ring, Greco will join the six others who have already filed: former Hillsborough county commissioners Rose Ferlita and Ed Turanchik, former City Council member Bob Buckhorn, City Council chairman Tom Scott, former police Capt. Marion Lewis and businessman Arthur Richardson.

Times staff writer Janet Zink contributed to this report. Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

Friend says Dick Greco will run for Tampa mayor 11/27/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 27, 2010 10:48pm]
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