Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Opening up a downtown Tampa park on the river

Tampa is moving closer to making the Hillsborough River its downtown focal point with the hiring of a firm to redesign Riverfront Park. The park, on the western bank of the river opposite from downtown, is a rambling and underused oasis with sweeping views of the city center. The challenge is to preserve the quiet nature of Riverfront while also using its location and beauty to expand the appeal of the urban core.

The city last week hired a Denver design firm, Civitas, to begin planning an $8 million remake of the 23-acre park. That large amount of money will be well spent if the park's redesign holds up for decades, and if it proves to draw — as hoped — new residential and commercial development on the west side of the river that links to West Tampa. But the money and the mission make it all the more important for the city to get the redesign right from the start. That begins with embracing Riverfront's already considerable natural attributes and refusing to saddle the park with outsized ambitions more appropriate for larger and suburban green spaces.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been careful not to sketch out any concrete plans, and the consultants are seeking public input. Buckhorn said, though, that he wants to remove the earthen berms in the park that visually separate the ball fields and tennis courts from the river. He also wants to reroute a nearby street to connect the park with public land along I-275, which could increase the park's usable space another 7 acres. These are good ideas that would open sight lines to the river and maximize the available land. On that score, the city should bunch the tennis and basketball courts, which are both popular, along the entrance at North Boulevard, which would free up waterfront views and improve security.

The park accommodates active and passive uses now, and the redesign should reflect the same sense of balance. Tampa has had a tendency to clog its parks with sculptures, markers and other visual clutter that detracts from the natural environment. This redesign should avoid that trap. And it shouldn't commercialize the park experience by trying to attract events that overwhelm the space. Riverfront has more of a neighborhood mission than its sister park on the opposite bank of the river, Curtis Hixon. The two should complement each other, not compete. The city is starting out on an inclusive note, and it is exciting to imagine the impact to downtown of opening up this wonderful park.

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Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18