Jackson House saved? A deal to save Tampa’s historic Jackson House is finally on the table. After years of negotiations, the city and private parking lot company 717 have agreed to a proposed land swap that would clear the way to restore Tampa’s last segregation-era Black boarding home. Final approval can’t come too soon. The downtown structure is barely standing; its sagging walls and roof might not survive another major storm. The city, 717 Parking and the state Department of Transportation need to complete the necessary easement and land agreements to get renovations underway. This arrangement has many moving parts, but allowing the Jackson House to collapse from neglect would be a massive civic failure. We hope there are no more holdups and that a greater sense of urgency is finally behind this worthwhile community effort.
Pasco park pushback. Elected officials work for their constituents — not the other way around. That reality was underscored this week when a group of New Port Richey residents seemingly prevailed in a decadelong battle to obtain a park in their neighborhood. On Tuesday, the Pasco County Commission rejected the idea of offering the 41-acre property known as Oaks Park to developers, reverting back to a plan whereby area residents would pay for the privilege of having this property dedicated as park space. County officials will now put a price tag on those assessments; an earlier plan put the figure at about $136 annually for each resident over the next 14 years. Good for these residents, and good that county commissioners listened. Governments may be institutions, but they’re composed of people. And when you make a deal, follow through with it.
Hagan spares arts. Hillsborough County’s three Republican commissioners might take a cue from their colleague and fellow Republican, commission chairperson Ken Hagan. The newly elected trio recently were on the losing end of Republican Commissioner Donna Cameron Cepeda’s proposal to defund the arts. Cameron Cepeda targeted two county programs — the Arts Council and the Cultural Assets Commission — as unworthy of county financial support. She said the groups should be privately funded and that public money should be better spent. But Hagan provided the swing vote in sparing money for the arts. Though a fiscal conservative, he has long supported programs that enrich this community, from youth sports and parks to recreation activities. The arts are not only deserving of modest county support, but these events attract residents and tourists alike, contributing to the area’s vibe and economy. Let’s hear it for the maturity to appreciate the bigger picture.
Remembering Lucy Morgan. Finally, the Tampa Bay Times, and journalism itself, lost a North Star this week with the death of Lucy Morgan. The former Times Tallahassee bureau chief was a longtime force in the state capital, exposing corruption and holding the good old boy network to account. Morgan, who died Wednesday at 82, kept on journalistic watch for nearly five decades. She joined the staff of the St. Petersburg Times in 1967, and her fearless reporting over the years kept Florida legislators, lobbyists and law enforcement officials straight or scared — or bobbing nervously in between. Morgan and fellow reporter Jack Reed won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1985 for exposing corruption within the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Back in the newsroom, Morgan was a role model and mentor to generations of journalists who made her profession, her state and her community better. She also was a hoot, and we’ll miss but never forget her.
Spend your days with Hayes
Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Conan Gallaty. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.