City Council looks at Gasparilla

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The Tampa City Council met this morning in a public workshop to discuss all aspects of the 2010 Gasparilla Parade. Members of the public gave input concerning operations and logistics for the event that some residents are concerned has brought too much chaos to their neighborhoods.

Staff from the Tampa Police Department, the Parks and Recreation Department, and the organizers from Event Fest spoke at the workshop. Santiago Corrada is the City of Tampa’s Neighborhood Services Administrator, and presented the recommendations that the community has had for the event.

The President of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, Rosemary Henderson, listed some of the measures Hyde Park is taking for preventative behavioral control leading up to the event.

Representing the police department, Assistant Chief Marc Hamlin warned of “quality-of-life” arrests that might happen on a large scale if individuals fail to exercise self-control.

The Tampa Police Department is increasing its presence and is taking more extensive security measures in anticipation of the need for crowd control, according to Hamlin.

Event Fest, the group that organizes Gasparilla, is promoting a website to raise awareness about responsible alcohol consumption in order to change the attitudes toward public alcohol consumption, according to their representative Darrel Stefany.

The City Council also discussed a request for local businesses to limit their alcohol sales through a voluntary moratorium, in order to reduce alcohol-related incidents in the neighborhood. Council member John Dingfelder thinks the city should evaluate whether to continue licensing an array of beer tents for selling alcohol.

Harold Walker, a resident of Hyde Park, voiced concerns about the $76,000 allocated to fund 1600 portable restrooms, which is twice last years amount.

Council member Linda Saul-Sena mentioned that there is still confusion over some aspects of the financial management of the event.

There are annual pre-event meetings in Hyde Park and they will now include downtown residents, according to Corrada.

According to the organizers, Gasparilla brings $46 million to Tampa each year, and will be held January 23rd and 30th next year. More information at