TAMPA HEIGHTS, FRIDAY, 23 JUNE 2006, Stan Davis
It was a love-fest at Tampa City Hall Thursday night.
The City Councilâ€”still enjoying the afterglow of its passage of the Central Park Community Redevelopment District that morning â€“gathered 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 Iorioâ€™s Riverwalk.
Tampaâ€™s Economic Development Administrator, Mark Huey, gave a synopsis of why this little city in the city will be a great ideaâ€¦
[Actuality 1- Huey1- â€œâ€¦this is a substantial development opportunityâ€¦ in their development processâ€?]
Councilwoman, Linda Saul-Sena summed-up the Councilâ€™s position on the Tampa Heights projectâ€¦
[Actuality 2- Saul-Sena- â€œâ€¦ This is the most beautifulâ€¦ the gift its going to give to our communityâ€¦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 developersâ€™ spokesperson, Rhea Law, explained that option to the council and public audienceâ€¦
[Actuality 3- Rhea Law- â€œâ€¦ We are obligatedâ€¦ in this areaâ€¦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 homeownersâ€¦
[Actuality 4- Endorsements- â€œâ€¦ We have endured crimeâ€¦ benefit us as small business-peopleâ€¦â€?]
But there was a moment when things did not move so smoothly. A member of the Tampa Heights Civic Associationâ€”Shaka Zulu â€“got up andâ€”making clear he was speaking only as a citizen, not an official â€“asked the Council to slow downâ€¦
[Actuality 5- Shaka Zulu- â€œâ€¦ I have a deep concernâ€¦ uninformed on whatâ€™s going onâ€¦â€?]
But Councilman Kevin Whiteâ€”apparently speaking for the entire council â€“would have none of itâ€¦
[Actuality 6- Kevin White- â€œâ€¦ This project has been long-comingâ€¦ to slow the train down right nowâ€¦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.
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For WMNF, Iâ€™m Stan Davis