Skateboarders gathered Sunday at the Bro Bowl in advance of next month’s anticipated closure, demolition and eventual relocation of the skateboard basin as part of a $6.9 million update of Perry Harvey Sr. Park.
Also in attendance: non-skater retiree Joel Jackson, 72, who designed the skate bowl in the 1970s while working as an urban planner at Tampa City Hall....
08/19/14 Local Government
TAMPA — With nearly 2,200 miles of water mains, the city of Tampa averages about eight breaks a day, but doesn't see many like the two that bedeviled traffic and businesses Tuesday.
They were big.
A 20-inch transmission main broke Monday evening under S Dale Mabry Highway just south of Gandy Boulevard. Tuesday morning, a 12-inch transmission main split open downtown at Ashley Drive and Tyler Street....
08/15/14 Local Government
TAMPA — In its first public statement since a video showed liquid concrete being dumped into the Hillsborough River, the company building a new section of the Riverwalk said Friday it has retrained workers and changed where it washes out equipment.
Tampa officials this week demanded that Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia, which has an $8.8 million city construction contract, address the video by saying in writing what happened, why it happened and what it would do to remedy the situation....
08/14/14 Local Government
TAMPA — As crowds of bar-hoppers on S Howard Avenue grow ever bigger, their appetite for parking is wearing out the patience of surrounding homeowners.
So now Tampa officials are looking at providing at least some relief to SoHo neighborhoods by adding on-street parking along Platt Street.
A recent review suggests on-street parking and also a bike lane with a buffer from other traffic could be put on part of Platt without creating "unacceptable congestion," said Jean Duncan, the city's newly appointed director of transportation and stormwater services....
08/14/14 Local Government
TAMPA — The company building an $8.8 million section of the Riverwalk fired at least one worker and disciplined others after a video this week showed a crew dumping waste concrete into the Hillsborough River.
"That's shocking," city spokeswoman Ali Glisson said of the incident.
The contractor, Johnson Bros. Corp. of Lithia, has apologized, she said Thursday.
"What they appear to be doing — washing out their concrete bucket at the end of the day into the river — would definitely be in violation of their contract," she said. "It's beyond stupid. They should know better."...
08/13/14 Economic Development
TAMPA — Tampa-based technology services company Tribridge plans to add up to 200 local jobs, nearly doubling its Tampa workforce by 2016 with the assistance of $1 million in government subsidies.
"Based on our projected growth, we need lots of people," Tribridge chairman and CEO Tony DiBenedetto said Wednesday.
Tribridge employs 600 nationwide, with more than 240 working at two locations in the West Shore business district. Locally, salaries average in the upper $80,000s....
08/12/14 Local Government
TAMPA — The emerging plan for the makeover of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park includes a two-story "river center" with something upstairs for neighbors and downstairs for rowing crews and dragon boat teams.
The top floor of the river center could include a community room, park planners told residents Tuesday night at Blake High School. Because the park generally slopes down to the river, visitors could park on the high ground near Laurel Street and walk right into the second floor....
08/12/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Construction crews worked until 10 p.m. Monday, but 12 hours later Water Works Park made its debut on a Tuesday morning steamy enough to make the adults in the crowd wish that they, too, could cool off at the new splash pad.
"This is a day I have wanted for a very long time," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "Not just one year or two years, but 20 years."
The city spent $7.4 million to transform Water Works Park — long closed to the public and partly used as a police fuel depot — into 5 acres with something for everyone....
08/11/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn unveiled a City Hall reorganization on Monday aimed at putting a bigger priority on roads and drainage, with plans to boost spending on major projects.
"We will now have one department" — known as Transportation and Stormwater Services — "to manage the city's real estate along our roads and right of way," Buckhorn said. The announcement comes after Buckhorn said he has been looking at realigning public works functions "to make them more efficient."...
08/10/14 Local Government
TAMPA — South Tampa landlord Kevin Kladakis is adamant.
He rents apartments at his Palma Ceia four-plex at 3110 W San Carlos St. His tenants might have roommates, he says, but it is not a rooming house.
Last week, however, a special magistrate reached a different conclusion after neighbors of Kladakis' property packed a code enforcement hearing to testify against him.
Homeowners complained of high turnover as renters come and go monthly, even weekly. They said Kladakis' tenants have been loud, gotten into fights, walked around with open beers, hauled mattresses to and from the building and scared women in the neighborhood with catcalls....
TAMPA — The city missed out on an estimated $270,000 in revenue in ambulance fees two years ago because of a previously undiscovered billing problem, according to an internal audit, so now officials have made some changes.
In 2012, Tampa Fire Rescue ambulances took nearly 17,350 patients to the hospital, but only about 16,400 of them received bills.
That's because the vendor that handles billing and collections for the city, Advanced Data Process Intermedix, has no record of 943 of those runs. Tampa officials use a secure data link to send patient transport records to ADPI for billing....
08/07/14 Local Government
TAMPA — A divided City Council on Thursday postponed voting on whether to erase a single stretch of graffiti, much of it painted by visiting college rowing teams, from a Hillsborough River sea wall.
To its fans, the rowing graffiti is urban art. No one turned out to defend it, but council members Mary Mulhern and Yvonne Yolie Capin said the idea of removing it is provoking lots of opposition on blogs and social media. And they agreed it should be saved....
Harry Cohen on Tuesday filed to run for re-election to the Tampa City Council District 4 seat representing South Tampa.
Cohen, 44, is a lawyer and former chief deputy clerk of the circuit court for Hillsborough County. He works for the clerk’s office part-time on a wide-ranging project to update the agency’s information technology....
08/05/14 Local Government
TAMPA — After months of complaints from sleep-deprived residents, City Hall is trying to figure out how to create a train horn quiet zone through Ybor City, downtown and south toward Port Tampa.
The first step: paying $90,545 to King Engineering Associates to study the problem and assemble the documentation needed to apply for grants to help pay for the work. A contract with the firm goes Thursday to the City Council for approval....
TAMPA — For decades, college rowing teams have come to Tampa for their winter training and left their marks on seawalls lining the Hillsborough River.
When Tampa all but ignored the river, that was okay. Since at least the 1980s, dozens of teams from the Ivy League, Big Ten and other parts of the country have snuck out at night to paint their colors, nicknames and inside jokes just above the waterline....