REDEVELOPMENT OF TAMPA'S CENTRAL PARK AREA

01/16/04

The Tampa Housing Authority’s board met this morning to discuss plans for redevelopment of Tampa’s Central Park area. The meeting followed last night’s decision at a special meeting of the Hillsborough County Commission to reject a controversial and sweeping redevelopment project proposed by developer Ed Turanchiks’s Civitas company and the City of Tampa.

Cut #1 short Michelle Patty

Hillsborough County resident Michelle Patty attended the meeting expressed concern for the residents of central park: sound

The project would replace Central Park’s public housing with a plan including retail shops and more than 3,500 homes ranging from $125,000 lofts to $600,000 town houses, with plans to scatter 2,000 “affordable� housing units on land nearby that it currently owns or will acquire.

Yesterday, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio sent the commission a letter saying the City had reached terms with Civitas and the Housing Authority on creating a special taxing district needed for the project to create roads and other improvements needed for the project. 

The county voted against the plan 4-3 at an evening meeting yesterday, with several of the commissioners expressing frustration at the rush to endorse the plan only a month after the company publicized details of a plan some say has been secretly in the works for more than 2 years.

The Housing Authority’s rush is that it faces a pressing deadline to apply by the end of the business day Tuesday for a $20-million federal grant, an application that cannot be hand-delivered. The authority postponed submitting its application while waiting the city and county endorsements for the public-private partnership they say will give them a better chance of garnering the grant than if they go it alone.

At this morning’s meeting, the authority’s board promised to apply for the grant without Civitas if it could not get the county’s approval by 5 pm this afternoon, with plans to work on the alternate grant application through tomorrow, when it needs to be in the mail.

Housing Authority Board member Gerald Scott repeatedly encouraged the board and Jerome Ryans to ask the county to reconsider yesterday’s actions:

Sound “If we can’t solve that, HC is boken!�

Authority Board member Toni Riordan voted to second the motion, but asked if Civitas was still on board.

Sound bites from Bishop

The big issue among the citizens attending the meeting today was what happens to people living in the central park area, the living conditions they are subject to, and the autonomy they have over their own lives:

Michele Patty Sound bite

County Commissioner Scott, who voted for the project, spoke at this morning’s meeting, saying the biggest hang-up for the deal was over revenues that would be generated years down the road.

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