Sheriff's request for barrier approved
The politics of terrorism was part of a Tampa City Council discussion today. It arose on whether or not the city of Tampa should vacate a portion of 20th Street in Ybor City to the Hillsborough County Sheriffâs Office.
The Sheriffâs Office Operation Center resides between Palm and 9th Avenue in Ybor. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Sheriffâs Office has erected barriers on 20th street near the facility because of security concerns.
Sherriff David Gee now wants to build a wall on side of his facility, but told the City Council he couldnât tell them why.
Gee said in his last meeting with the Department of Homeland Security, federal officials told him that his plans for the facility are reasonable, and had answered their concerns.
He said if he were creating a new facility, he would want a 100-foot setback from the street to the departmentâs front door, but since thatâs not possible, the wall include security gates on 20th Street, which bisects the sheriffâs compound.
City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern wasnât willing to take Gee's word for it. She asked him specifically why the need for such protection.
Gee said he couldnât tell her.
The Barrio Latino Commision has already gone on record opposing the sheriffâs request. The BLC is a citizens panel charged with protecting the architectural integrity of Ybor City, a national landmark district.
The Sherriffâs Department has had its operating center in Ybor City since the 1970s.
Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said the neighborhood has gone through many changes since then, and she wasnât certain vacating the street was appropriate.
Plus, there is considerable opposition to the plan among some business owners in the district.
Eric Schiiler owns Gaspar's Grotto, a restaurant and bar in Ybor City. He said essentially Sheriff Gee was lying about his intentions. And Schiller asked why there was the need for extra security now, and not immediately after 9/11.
The board approved the sheriffâs request, 4-1, with Linda Saul-Sena dissenting; Charlie Miranda was absent.comments powered by Disqus