Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Promising plan for Tampa redevelopment

Tampa's plan to redevelop the downtown-area neighborhood west of the Hillsborough River is exciting and long overdue. Over the next 10 years, a crumbling public housing project and vast areas of urban decay could become an integrated, thriving community of new homes, shops and parks. This is the city's most ambitious development project in decades — and it will take finesse and follow through to make it work.

The plan unveiled last month seeks to transform the so-called West River area, a pie-shaped neighborhood on the west bank of the river that stands between downtown and West Tampa. The city and the Tampa Housing Authority would demolish North Boulevard Homes, a World War II-era public housing complex, and rebuild the area with new apartments, shops, parks and street designs to make it livelier, safer and more appealing.

The housing authority would replace its 820 units of family and senior housing with more than 1,600 new apartments and town homes. Residents forced to leave during the interim would have the right to return. With about half the units offered at market rates, the authority hopes to create a blended community — one whose stronger purchasing power will support nearby shops and businesses.

The concept is not new, but Tampa's plan is particularly strong. With 90 percent of the area's 120 acres publicly owned, the city doesn't need to buy more property and will have a blank canvas to work with after North Boulevard Homes is gone. The area's utilities are adequate, and its proximity to downtown is a major selling point. Roughly half the area borders on the water, which makes for prime market space. And with property values in the area at rock bottom, the city has a chance to cash in by attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment.

The trick will be balancing economic opportunity with the city's obligation to give low-income residents already there a chance to share in the revival. The city should expand the residential portion, both by adding some density to the housing designs and working with the Hillsborough County School District to free up space by consolidating facilities at the local schools. The county bus agency also should step up with a mass transit plan to reduce the waste of space for parking.

This project could improve lives, incomes and the look and feel of the West River area. It also has the potential to transform the city's economics by turning a money pit into an economic engine that expands the reach of downtown into the historic neighborhoods. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the housing authority should continue working on a plan that has extraordinary promise.

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Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Editorial: As USFSP consolidation task force meets, openness and collaboration are key

Writing a new law that phases out separate accreditation for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and folds it back into the major research university was the easy part. The hard work starts today when a new consolidation task force holds i...
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
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: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/24/18

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
Updated: 04/23/18
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: 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