TAMPA — Decades ago, when Tampa's waterfront was warehouses and blue-collar jobs, the jumbled street grid at the southern end of downtown might not have been a problem.
But now that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has bought up 24 acres around the Tampa Bay Times Forum, he and city officials want to set the stage for an active, easy-access and pedestrian-friendly entertainment district....
Is term-limited Tampa City Council member Mary Mulhern considering running against the colleague she sits next to on the council dais — South Tampa representative Harry Cohen?
Yes, Mulhern acknowledged Thursday, but that’s only one of a lot of things she’s looking at.
“I’m thinking about everything,” said Mulhern, who will be out of her current job after her four-year term ends next March. She’s also exploring potential opportunities in the private sector, as well as considering county or other offices scheduled to come up for election in 2016. “There’s nothing I’m not thinking about.”...
08/27/14 Local Government
TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn has named Water Department director Brad Baird the city's new administrator of public works and utility services.
Baird, a professional engineer who has worked for the city for 31 years, will replace Mike Herr, who is leaving to become city manager in Plant City.
"From stormwater to wastewater, I doubt there is anyone who knows more about the city of Tampa's utilities systems than Brad," Buckhorn said. He described Baird as "proactive and solutions-oriented."...
08/27/14 Local Government
TAMPA — As a 20-year-old barber in 1960, Clarence Fort used to listen to his customers talk about the lack of hope and fairness for Tampa's black residents.
Jobs were scarce, theaters segregated. Downtown five-and-dime stores took their money but refused to let them sit down at the lunch counter for a hamburger or a Coca-Cola.
So on Feb. 29, 1960, as the new president of the NAACP Youth Council, Fort and the Rev. A. Leon Lowry led 50 Blake and Middleton high school students in a sit-in at F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter on Franklin Street....
08/26/14 Public Safety
TAMPA — Police and fire responded to the Habana Park condominiums near St. Joseph's Hospital Tuesday for what officials said was an arson and suicide in an upstairs unit.
About 12:40 p.m. a resident in a downstairs unit called 911 because there was water coming out of the light fixtures on the ceiling of the condominium unit.
Firefighters went upstairs to Unit 142 at 4702 Michael Court, but the man there would not answer the door, so they backed out to a safe location. They sent for a manager with a key and police were called to the scene....
08/25/14 Real Estate
TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's vision for the Channel District is coming into focus, and it includes bringing in hundreds of white-collar workers along with tourists and sports fans.
The latest piece of his plan is a 202,000-square-foot office building that Vinik's companies propose to build north of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
And a rezoning application filed last week suggests a tenant for that building could be Syniverse, a fast-growing high-tech firm now based in New Tampa....
TAMPA — Consider the paradox.
When it launches in September, Coast Bike Share will put 300 new rental bikes on Tampa's streets for downtown workers, residents, college students and tourists.
But the rules of the road often will require them to ride on the street, especially downtown. That's the core of a metro area known as the second most dangerous place in the nation for pedestrians and bicyclists....
TAMPA — He incensed real estate developers. He poured fuel on a flickering local green movement. He directed national TV cameras to sewage spills in Tampa Bay and then took the heat from hometown politicians.
Roger P. Stewart, an Air Force pilot-turned-environmentalist, kept Hillsborough County elected officials on edge for three decades in a hard-fought battle to put natural resources over profit....
08/21/14 Local Government
TAMPA — The City Council on Thursday night voted to allow a clean scrubbing for a 650-foot stretch of riverfront seawall now painted over with about two dozen rowing team logos, a half-dozen roughed-in Greek fraternity names and a couple of four-letter words.
The city will pay $40,000 for the project, with another $40,000 coming from the nonprofit Friends of the Riverwalk.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn wants the wall cleaned because the city plans to install interactive underwater lights — they will change color as people walk by — along the Riverwalk as part of the Lights On Tampa 2015 public art program....
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....