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  1. Life & Culture

Tampa Bay landmarks glow blue and yellow for Ukraine

Despite images on social media that appear otherwise, the Skyway has not yet been lit.
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is seen Monday in Tampa. The center was lit up in the colors of Ukraine's flag to show support for the Ukrainian people.
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is seen Monday in Tampa. The center was lit up in the colors of Ukraine's flag to show support for the Ukrainian people. [ AYA DIAB | Times ]
Published Mar. 1|Updated Mar. 1

Tampa Bay is lighting up blue and yellow to stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.

On Monday evening, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts was lit to match the country’s flag. The display was prompted by an e-mail from a patron asking if the the theater was doing anything before shows to acknowledge or show support for Ukraine.

“We decided that changing the lights was a way for us as an institution to let our community know that the people of Ukraine are in our thoughts,” Summer Bohnenkamp, chief programming and marketing officer, said in an emailed statement.

Over the weekend, the city of Tampa illuminated the Old City Hall and downtown bridges. While it was a temporary display, a city spokesperson confirmed that the city may do it again.

“My heart goes out to the Ukrainian people during this critical and most difficult time,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor in an Instagram post on the city’s account. “Our country will always champion freedom and democracy. As Ukraine remains under this unjustified attack, we support any steps that will bring back peace to Eastern Europe.”

In St. Petersburg, Mayor Ken Welch said he instructed staff on Sunday to illuminate the branding poles throughout the Pier district in blue and yellow as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

”They will remain lit in the Ukrainian flag colors indefinitely,” he said.

Recently U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist urged Gov. Ron DeSantis to request blue and yellow lights on the Sunshine Skyway. A photo of the bridge circulating on Facebook shows it illuminated with the colors of the Ukraine flag over the weekend. But it may not be a legit shot.

A Times staffer drove over the Skyway on Saturday night and it was lit pink. The Florida Department of Transportation confirmed that steps need to be taken before they can swap the colors.

“FDOT’s policy is that if all three counties (Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee) send a letter of support the Department will light the bridge for this cause,” wrote a spokesperson Monday.

A screenshot of an image posted Saturday in the Facebook group Cape Coral Life shows the Skyway with blue lights. However, it doesn't seem legit. FDOT said they still need letters from all three counties before they swap the lights in support of Ukraine.
A screenshot of an image posted Saturday in the Facebook group Cape Coral Life shows the Skyway with blue lights. However, it doesn't seem legit. FDOT said they still need letters from all three counties before they swap the lights in support of Ukraine. [ Facebook screenshot ]
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