TAMPA HEIGHTS, FRIDAY, 23 JUNE 2006, Stan Davis06/23/06
It was a love-fest at Tampa City Hall Thursday night.
The City CouncilÃ¢â‚¬â€still enjoying the afterglow of its passage of the Central Park Community Redevelopment District that morning Ã¢â‚¬â€œgathered to hear public comment on redeveloping 48 acres of Tampa Heights as a mixed-use community.
The project envisions the construction of 1,900 low and high-rise residential units, plus parks, stores, community facilities, and even an entire mile of Mayor IorioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Riverwalk.
TampaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Economic Development Administrator, Mark Huey, gave a synopsis of why this little city in the city will be a great ideaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 1- Huey1- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦this is a substantial development opportunityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ in their development processÃ¢â‚¬?]
Councilwoman, Linda Saul-Sena summed-up the CouncilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s position on the Tampa Heights projectÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 2- Saul-Sena- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ This is the most beautifulÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ the gift its going to give to our communityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
Councilwoman Rose Ferlita wanted to know more about the affordable housing provision in the ordinances they were considering.
Apparently, the builders were not obligated to provide affordable housing on the project site, as was previously understood.
In fact, the ordinances stipulated that 10% of the total residential stock would be so-called affordable housing.
That would be 190 units.
But there was another option for the builder.
The developersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ spokesperson, Rhea Law, explained that option to the council and public audienceÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 3- Rhea Law- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ We are obligatedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ in this areaÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
Aside from some small areas of confusion between the city and the builders, the evening was just about heaven on Earth for the gathered politicos, business-people and homeownersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 4- Endorsements- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ We have endured crimeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ benefit us as small business-peopleÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
But there was a moment when things did not move so smoothly. A member of the Tampa Heights Civic AssociationÃ¢â‚¬â€Shaka Zulu Ã¢â‚¬â€œgot up andÃ¢â‚¬â€making clear he was speaking only as a citizen, not an official Ã¢â‚¬â€œasked the Council to slow downÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 5- Shaka Zulu- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ I have a deep concernÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ uninformed on whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going onÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
But Councilman Kevin WhiteÃ¢â‚¬â€apparently speaking for the entire council Ã¢â‚¬â€œwould have none of itÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
[Actuality 6- Kevin White- Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ This project has been long-comingÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ to slow the train down right nowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬?]
And then, after even more endorsements from community residents, White asked that the hearing close and a vote to be taken.
The motions passed unanimously.
And everyone gushed love and satisfaction.
For WMNF, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m Stan Davis