Central Park Development Plan still in flux by Mitch E. Perry

06/08/06

As we reported last night, the Hillsborough County Commission approved an Ordinance that would create a special taxing district to remake the Central Park Village public housing project near downtown Tampa – but only if they’re allowed more power in how the money will be spent.

Unlike the Civitas plan that Hillsborough Commissioners rejected 2 ½ years ago, City of Tampa officials were said to have learned from mistakes made in that process – such as criticism that they informed the Commisioners too late in the process about the plan.

But yesterday, it was Commissioner Thomas Scott who came out swinging against the plan from the get-go, proposing a list of demands – such as that the Commission be allowed to have 2 representatives on the Central Park Community Redevelopment Area, or CRA- and to have 2 handpicked citizens sit on an advisory panel.

This morning, Commissioner Scott appeared in front of the Tampa City Council to press his points that that it was only fair that since the County was giving up money from its tax rolls that it have some representation on how it’s being spent (roll tape#1 o.q.� and let’s work together�)

Scott was heavily criticized in an editorial in Thursday’s Tampa Tribune. The Tribune wrote that Scott was doing his best to ‘sabotage’ the plan by “ambushing� Tampa Officials at the last minute.

But Scott insisted that his demand that 2 Commissioners be allowed to be on the Central Park CRA was the only difference than his ideas about the failed Civitas Plan, as he proclaimed that it was only his strong interest in protecting the residents of the public housing project at Central Park that he is making such demands (roll tape#2 o.q.�protecting poor people�)

Scott recently changed his political plans. He was contemplating a run for Tampa City Council, but will now run for a District wide seat against fellow colleague Mark Sharpe.

City Councilman Kevin White represents the Central Park Village Area. He told Commissioner Scott that he looked forward to the City’s Legal Department coming back to the Council for their analysis on the changes the Board of County Commissioners approved Wednesday (roll tape#3 o.q.�alternative�)

Gerald White is a member of the Tampa Housing Authority. He pleaded with the Council that they work productively with the County Commission to support the development (roll tape#4 o.q.�of the residents�)

During the public comment period, Citizen Moses Knotts Jr. said he was suspicious to what might happen to the public housing residents who currently live in Central Park Village (roll tape#5 o.q.�that’s what you’re going to do?� ) The Tampa City Council will review the changes made to the Proposal at their CRA meeting that takes place next Thursdsay morning.

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