Richard Danielson, Times Staff Writer

Richard Danielson

Richard Danielson covers city government and politics in Tampa. He grew up in Clearwater, graduated from Vanderbilt University and joined the Times in 1987. This is his second tour at City Hall (the first was from 1992 to '97). His other reporting assignments at the Times have included covering local government and politics in Pasco County, courts and higher education. He also has worked as the Times' Palm Harbor bureau chief and Clearwater city editor. In his current assignment, he is the main contributor to PolitiFact Florida's Buck-O-Meter, which tracks Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's performance on 34 campaign promises.

Phone: (813) 226-3403


Twitter: @Danielson_Times

  1. Two apartment towers in the works on Harbour Island

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Two 21-story apartment towers are in the works for Harbour Island, with construction on each targeted to start by the end of this year.

    Two different groups are developing the towers, which would flank the 20-story Plaza Harbour Island condominium on Knights Run Avenue.

    On the west side of the Plaza, the Related Group from Miami is working on plans for a tower with 340 apartments....

  2. Downtown Tampa tries free pingpong in the park


    TAMPA — To enliven downtown, Tampa has tried:

    • Coloring the Hillsborough River kelly green for St. Patrick's Day.

    • Creating a mac-and-cheese festival.

    • Putting a pop-up golf driving range on N Franklin Street.

    • Trucking in loads of white sand for a summer beach volleyball court.

    Now comes a hot pink pingpong table where you can play table tennis for free in Lykes Gaslight Square Park....

    Jonathan Torres plays pingpong with Urban Conga founder Ryan Swanson on Friday on the new permanent public pingpong table at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in downtown Tampa. Torres helped fabricate the steel table after Urban Conga — a group of design guys who promote play — got a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay to help build the table.
  3. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn proposes $876M budget that doesn't dip into reserves

    Local Government

    TAMPA — For the first time in five years, the city of Tampa will balance its budget without drawing cash from reserves, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Thursday.

    Not only that, but Buckhorn's proposed $876 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year will start to replenish the rainy day funds that helped carry the city through the lean years after the housing crash.

    "There is a good story to tell this year as we come out of the wreckage of what has been one of the most devastating recessions since the Great Depression," said Buckhorn, who plans to run for re-election in March....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn presents the proposed budget for the 2015 fiscal year to the City Council on Thursday. His budget includes a 2.5 percent raise for all city employees.
  4. Aloft Tampa Downtown opens after $20 million transformation


    TAMPA — When Punit Shah and Santosh Govindaraju bought the old Mercantile Bank building on Kennedy Boulevard, the ground floor was flooded, the elevators didn't work and demolition had been scheduled.

    Two years and $20 million later, the pair on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the Aloft Tampa Downtown, a 130-room boutique hotel with views of the Hillsborough River, a bar, a poolside lounge and a sleek modern look....

    Punit Shah of developer Liberty Group speaks Wednesday before the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of the Aloft Tampa Downtown, a 130-room boutique hotel that features views of the Hillsborough River, a bar and a poolside lounge.
  5. $32 million in construction for additional tankers at MacDill expected in next few years


    The Pentagon expects to budget $32 million for infrastructure upgrades at MacDill Air Force Base to support new KC-135 jet tankers being transferred to Tampa, Department of Defense officials told five members of the Tampa Bay area's congressional delegation on Tuesday.

    U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and Repubican representatives Gus Bilirakis of Palm Harbor, David Jolly of Indian Shores, Rich Nugent of Spring Hill and Dennis Ross of Lakeland met at Castor's office with a group from the Pentagon that included Kathleen Ferguson, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics....

    KC-135 Stratotankers take part in a nose-to-tail "elephant walk," as it's known in the Air Force, at MacDill Air Force Base in 2012. MacDill has 16 KC-135 tankers and is expected to receive eight more in 2018 once a new generation of KC-46 tankers starts to roll off Boeing's assembly line.
  6. Lisa Montelione seeking re-election to Tampa City Council


    Tampa City Council member Lisa Montelione on Tuesday filed to run for re-election to the council's District 7 seat representing North Tampa and New Tampa.

    Montelione, 53, lives in the Terrace Park neighborhood and works as the business manager for Rising Force Construction, a firm that specializes in environmentally friendly green projects.

    "There are a lot of things in the north and New Tampa and Tampa Palms areas that I think could use improvement," she said. "There are a lot of people who need representatiion, whether they are registered voters or just people who happen to live within those boundaries, that I want to serve."...

    Lisa Montelione
  7. Tampa to budget money in 2015 and 2016 to fix historic Cuscaden pool

    Local Government

    TAMPA — There's good news for those who have fought for Tampa's historic but long-closed Cuscaden Park pool.

    After saying there probably would be no money for the pool next year, Mayor Bob Buckhorn's administration said Monday it plans to budget $300,000 in 2015 to design repairs to the pool.

    And in 2016, the city plans to budget $1.5 million more for construction. That means the pool might not reopen until sometime in 2017, eight years after the city closed it in 2009 because of leaks and high maintenance costs....

    07 16 2007 - TAMPA - Children in a Tampa Parks and Recreation program splash around at Cuscaden Pool on Monday afternoon. The public pool, built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration and extensively rehabilitated recently, now may be closed part of the year due to the tighter city budget. BRIAN CASSELLA  |  Times STORY SUMMARY - Cuscaden Pool, a 1937 pool built by the Works Projects Administration. It was recently extensively rehabilitated, but now may be closed part of the year due to tax cuts.  Floridians are big on quality of life issues...that's why many of them live here. But among the first victims of state-imposed budget cuts are those services that make communities better places to live, and, in some cases, distinctive.
  8. Tampa to highlight overlooked Agam sculpture

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The 10-foot-tall sculpture is something like a family keepsake stashed out back by the trash cans for nearly 20 years.

    But by the end of this year, it will be cleaned up and moved to a place of pride closer to the front door.

    The City Council voted Thursday to approve a $38,515 upgrade for the Yaacov Agam sculpture Visual Welcome.

    Agam is an Israeli artist with a global reputation as the father of "kinetic art" — art that appears to move....

    The patterns on the panels of Visual Welcome, which is at a low-profile spot between Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Kiley Gardens, appear to shift when viewed while in motion.
  9. Tampa's Water Works Park to open Aug. 12


    TAMPA — Tampa's new $7.4 million Water Works Park will open on Aug. 12, with a grand opening celebration on Aug. 16 featuring fireworks, food trucks, live entertainment and children's activities.

    Announcing the plans Thursday, Mayor Bob Buckhorn described the park as "transformative" for Tampa Heights and the city's urban core.

    "It's another point of connection with the Hillsborough River and will be a space for entertainment and activity," he said....

  10. $7 million Tampa park project moves ahead, leaving two months to skate the Bro Bowl

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday approved a $6.9 million construction budget to create a new Perry Harvey Sr. Park near downtown Tampa — and to demolish and rebuild the historic Bro Bowl skateboard park at a new location.

    The council's vote was 5-0, with Charlie Miranda and Yvonne Yolie Capin absent because they are traveling in Cuba on separate trips. No one from the public spoke before the vote. The approval comes after at least nine months of delay related to the Bro Bowl's designation last October as the first skate bowl in the United States to be named to the National Register of Historic Places....

  11. Tampa City Council to vote on $7 million park project that would move the Bro Bowl

    Local Government

    TAMPA — After nine months of delay, City Hall is poised to move ahead with construction of a new Perry Harvey Sr. Park — and the removal of the current Bro Bowl skateboard park.

    The City Council is scheduled to vote today on setting a guaranteed maximum price of nearly $6.95 million for the new park. If the council approves, the contractor likely would fence the park in early September and begin construction a few weeks later....

    Mark Ruble, 36, skates at the the Bro Bowl in Tampa's Perry Harvey Sr. Park on Thursday evening, Aug 1. "There are warehouse parks everywhere - they're a dime a dozon - but there's nothing else like this," Ruble said. The skateboarding basin has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, provoking a controversy with city officials and black leaders who say the bowl should be demolished to make way for park improvements that honor Tampa's African-American history along Central Avenue.
  12. Buckhorn, Kriseman leading trade mission to Chile


    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be among the local elected officials leading a trade mission to Santiago, Chile, later this year.

    The mission is being organized by the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a new collaboration between Pinellas County Economic Development and the nonprofit Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp.

    "This mission to Chile is our first joint mission since we made that announcement (of the export alliance's creation) in May," said Jennifer Mikosky, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC's vice president of marketing and communications. It is scheduled for Dec. 1 to 5....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn talks about the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. The park sits across the river from downtown Tampa and it is getting a makeover. It's design dates to the 1970s, but the 23 acres is under-used. People inside and outside City Hall say its hilly terrain hides the river. The plan is to spend $8 million on the makeover.
  13. Buckhorn, Kriseman to lead bay area's first joint trade mission to Chile


    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman will be among the local elected officials leading a trade mission to Santiago, Chile from Dec. 1-5.

    The mission is being organized by the Tampa Bay Export Alliance, a new collaboration between the nonprofit Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. and Pinellas County Economic Development.

    “This mission to Chile is our first joint mission since we made that announcement (of the export alliance’s creation) in May,” said Jennifer Mikosky, the Tampa Hillsborough EDC’s vice president of marketing and communications....

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, shown at an event in Tampa in April, will lead a trade mission to Chile along with Pinellas County Commission Chairwoman Karen Seel and Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller Jr.
  14. 10 years later, Tampa to refund FEMA $562,000 in Hurricane Frances aid

    Local Government

    TAMPA — It's been nearly 10 years since Tropical Storm Frances scraped across the Tampa Bay area, dumping 6 inches of rain and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

    In Tampa, students returned to school and evacuees went home within days. Though cleanup and repairs took longer, the city finished those jobs by April 2005.

    But the paperwork?

    It's not done yet....

  15. Yolie Capin, Charlie Miranda, Bob Buckhorn all on the move this week


    Tampa City Council members Yvonne Yolie Capin and Charlie Miranda leave this week for separate trips to Cuba.

    Capin, who went on a trip organized by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce last May, is returning with a different group that will travel on the a similar “people to people” license for cultural and educational exchanges. Capin said she wants to get a better sense of what Tampa’s relationship to Cuba could be if and when the United States alters its embargo on trade and travel with Cuba....