Sunday, June 24, 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: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18