Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Tampa

‘Dog poop next to a restaurant is not a cool idea.'

A building owner next to Herman Massey Park gained preliminary approval to move a proposed dog park away from her property.
The owner of the building at 214 E. Tyler St, next to Herman Massey Park, has gained preliminary approval to move a proposed dog park away from her property. [CHARLIE FRAGO | Times]
Published Nov. 7

TAMPA — Turns out, dog lovers and outdoor cafe diners can get along. At least for now.

For two years, city planners and residents have collaborated on a redesign of Herman Massey Park, a half-acre of troubled parkland bordering North Franklin and East Tyler streets. The plans were nearly complete and featured two dog parks, a high priority for many residents on the northern end of downtown.

But those plans hadn’t included Malka Isaak, 83, who owns the three-story building, at 214 E. Tyler St, bordering the park. Isaak has owned the former site of Cutro’s Music store for more than twenty years, waiting for the neighborhood to improve.

With high-rise apartment towers and condos shooting up all around it (and more planned), Isaak decided to partner with Rick Calderoni, who owns The Retreat, Hula Bay and The Green Iguana, to open an affordable cafe on her property, which dates to 1901.

That’s when the trouble began. City planners were hesitant to tear up their nearly complete plans to incorporate her desire to relocate two planned dog parks away from her building to the northern edge of the park. She wants to use the space next to the building for dozens of outdoor seating spots.

To do that, she’ll have to negotiate a lease with the city to use part of the park for her customers.

The disagreement reached City Council, which sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency, asked both sides to work something out.

On Tuesday evening, they did. The Downtown Redevelopment Area’s citizen advisory board voted to support Isaak’s plan, which she said could bring up to $3 million in investment and jobs to the neighborhood.

Several members said they weren’t happy with additional delays to a process underway since 2017 at a cost of about $100,000. But they responded favorably to Isaak’s offer to pay any additional planning costs and to her argument that keeping the dog parks just a few feet from her building would damage its value.

It came down to dogs being dogs, and that not being conducive to dining al fresco.

“Dog poop next to a restaurant is not a cool idea,” said Victor DiMaio, a consultant representing Isaak.

The building at one time was a hotel and bakery in the 1920s. In that era, Isaak said, there was a passageway connecting the Allen Hotel to a neighboring brothel. She is seeking historic designation for the property and says she wants to restore it to its original brick facade. Currently, her architect said, there is a thick layer of sediment covering the outer walls. The interior needs to be shored up, too, to support a planned rooftop bar.

Gloria Jean Royster, who lives nearby, said her neighbors want a cheaper dining option in a booming area currently home to high-end eateries like Osteria Bar and Kitchen and Mole y Abuela.

“We can’t afford to eat in the neighborhood,” she said.

Council member John Dingfelder had asked the two sides to attempt to reconcile their differences. Now, redevelopment area manager Rob Rosner will report back to council members on Dec. 12.

Council members, as the CRA board, have final approval on the park redesign. As council members, they''ll have to sign off on any lease arrangement.

Isaak pointed to Four Green Fields and Big Ray’s Fish Camp as examples of successful leases of downtown public spaces.

Herman Massey, a tiny “pocket park, ” opened in 1987. The park made headlines in 2004 when several people were arrested for feeding the homeless. The following year, the city closed it for three years. But when it reopened, it quickly reverted to being a problem spot for drugs and crime.

RELATED: Herman Massey park to get a redesign

The new makeover attempt is a bid to change the park’s reputation and appearance and make it a gathering spot for an area of downtown that is becoming increasingly residential. Student housing, a hotel and possibly more high-rise residential development is planned around the park.

“The whole area will be a construction site for the next 24 months,” Rosner said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. 25 minutes ago• Hillsborough
    The Exercise Coach offers personalized strength training workouts for clients of all ages and fitness levels. Courtesy of The Exercise Coach
    Slated to open in late November, The Exercise Coach offers strength training workouts in a setting that differs from traditional gyms.
  2. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor was being driven through North Tampa when she spotted suspicious activity. She called it in, leading to an arrest. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Tampa’s mayor was being driven through North Tampa when she stepped back briefly into police work.
  3. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 47-year-old man was fatally injured after walking into the SUV’s path on E Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  4. Steven Duane Baker, 61, was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash and destroying evidence in a crash that left a 28-year-old bicyclist dead on U.S. 301, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Florida Highway Patrol
    Steven D. Baker, 61, told investigators he hit something but didn’t know it was a bicyclist, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers say he should have stopped.
  5. Pharmacist Wendy Sullivan gives a flu shot to Luz Acevedo at the Town 'N Country Senior Center in 2012. The 2019-20 flu season is expected to be a hard one, with Hillsborough County already leading the state in outbreaks. Associated Press
    The county leads the state in flu outbreaks so far this season, prompting an official call for parents to get their kids vaccinated.
  6. A rendering of the planned Pinstripes bowling, bocce and bistro space that is planned to open at International Plaza alongside a Cinemex in spring 2021. Pinstripes
    In addition to upscale bowling and movies, there will also be bocce ball and a bistro.
  7. Bucs punter Bradley Pinion (8) and his wife, launched their "Punts for Pups" program in partnership with the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center where they'll sponsor a dog for every punt he kicks within the 20-yard line. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Buccaneers punter and his wife will cover the fees of adopting a dog at the shelter every time he drops a punt inside the 20.
  8. An employee at Air General on Air Cargo Road spotted something suspicious while conducting routine scans of packages, a Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman said.
  9. Larry Hoffman a Hillsborough County code enforcement officer, prepares to inspect a property that is currently uninhabitable in Brandon, Florida on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. Code enforcement officers encounter an array of scenarios during a typical workday, including trashed homes, illegal building or dumping. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Lawrence Hoffman says that being able to defuse tense situations with angry homeowners is his best weapon.
  10. Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. Courtesy of Lynn Cristina
    Please be gentle with your friends who have strong-willed daughters who sabotage the morning routine of getting dressed in the morning.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement