Monday, December 11, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Tampa 'Bro Bowl' mustn't stifle broad vision

A state board on Thursday will review whether a skate park in downtown Tampa should be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park has a loyal following and a storied place, but it is not historic, and designating it as such could kill a memorial to a genuine piece of Tampa's history.

The Florida National Register Review Board will consider the nomination of the Perry Harvey Sr. Skateboard Bowl as a site of national significance. Built 35 years ago in Harvey Park on the east side of downtown, the skate park is a concrete bowl that snakes and slaloms — a design reminiscent of many such parks in the 1970s that were influenced by California's surfing culture. While the park was built near a public housing project with a large number of black families, it also became a hot spot for suburban white kids — and ultimately, a tool for integration. The friendships that flourished caused the park to be known as the "Bro Bowl."

But the site of the Bro Bowl and Harvey Park has a more sweeping history. The Central Avenue area was settled by freed slaves in 1864. Called "The Scrub," the area was the heart of the black business and entertainment district. Big-name entertainers from Cab Calloway to Ella Fitzgerald played there. During the first half of the 20th century, the area flourished with stores, restaurants, hotels and theaters. But by the 1960s, urban decay began to spark new redevelopment projects from the Central Park Village public housing project to the park. The city razed Central Park Village in 2007 and is rebuilding the site again with the 29-acre Encore development, which will include apartments, offices and a freshly redesigned Harvey Park.

Granting protected status to the Bro Bowl could interfere with a park design that honors a much deeper part of city history. The Bro Bowl property would become a great lawn in Harvey Park — a large and much-needed open space that would have broad public use and serve as a gathering spot for the area. The park's design has a flow that should not be interrupted; green space, community centers and historical markers offer passive space to reflect alongside restrooms, parking and stage areas that make any park functional.

Historic status could cause a delay or rearrangement of the park design because federal money is helping to pay for the redevelopment of Encore and the park. That would be a shame in practical terms and a loss to Tampa's history. The park plans call for building a much larger skate park north of the current site, where parking and access is better. The state should not allow a beloved skate park to prevent a truly historic site from taking its place in civic life again. That would be a poor use of preservation that would turn the Bro Bowl's legacy on its head.

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Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

With the horror of the mass shootings at a Las Vegas country music concert and a small Texas church still fresh, the U.S. House finally has taken action on guns. But the bill it passed last week won’t make Americans safer from gun violence. It is an ...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

With a buildout of $3 billion encompassing entire city blocks, it’s obvious that Jeff Vinik’s plans will change the look and feel of downtown Tampa. But the Tampa Bay Lightning owner unveiled a broader vision last week that reflects how far the impac...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17
Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

Editorial: Make texting while driving a primary offense

It is dangerous and illegal to text while driving in Florida, and police should be able to pull over and ticket those lawbreakers without witnessing another violation first. House Speaker Richard Corcoran has lent his powerful voice to legislation th...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Editorial: Outsourcing common sense on St. Petersburg Pier naming rights

St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17

Another voice: Trump’s risky move

President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has a certain amount of common sense on its side. As a practical matter, West Jerusalem has been the seat of Israeli government since 1949, and no conceivable formula for Pa...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Tampa’s MOSI reinvents itself

Editorial: Tampa’s MOSI reinvents itself

A tactical retreat and regrouping seems to be paying off for Hillsborough County’s Museum of Science and Industry. After paring back its operations, the museum posted a small profit over the past year, enabling the attraction to keep its doors open a...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Times recommends: McClure for Florida House District 58

Voters in Temple Terrace, Plant City and Thonotosassa have an easy choice in the Dec. 19 special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned for health reasons. Republican Lawrence McClure is the only credible candidate.McClure, 30, ow...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/07/17
Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

Editorial: Still waiting for flood insurance fix

It has been 1,979 days since all heck broke loose in the flood insurance industry. Apparently, that just wasn’t enough time for Washington to react. So with the National Flood Insurance Program set to expire on Friday, it’s looking increasingly likel...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17

Editorial: St. Petersburg should raise rates for reclaimed water

Raising rates on reclaimed water in St. Petersburg is an equitable way to spread the pain of paying for millions in fixes to the city’s dilapidated sewer system. The city has no choice but to start charging utility customers more as the sewer bills c...
Published: 12/05/17
Updated: 12/06/17