African-American community supports moving popular skate spot, Bro Bowl

07/18/13 Janelle Irwin
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Tampa City Council wants to move the skate park known as the Bro Bowl in Perry Harvey Sr. Park to make way for features honoring the area’s African-American history. But skaters are trying to save what they also consider a historic landmark. During council meeting Thursday, a small group of African-American baby boomers who remember what was once Central Avenue as a bustling symbol of their community – hosting such icons as Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. Eddie Adams Jr. urged city council members not to be swayed by pressure from younger generations who want to keep the skate park where it is.

"Before that slab of concrete that is there in the ground now, there was a rich and vibrant community that was there for 150 years. When I was younger I traveled in South America and I found out that they had catholic churches on what used to be sacred ground or indian burial sites. But when the bulldozers went through in the 60's and the 70's and bulldozed many of the black communities in this country, they put nothing there. They made ways for highways and they made ways for a lot of stuff that ended up being nothing. We have an opportunity now to preserve or resurrect what was, in it's time, one of the most vibrant black business communities in the South-East."

During a meeting Wednesday, the Hillsborough County Commission approved a symbolic measure supporting the city’s plans to move the Bro Bowl and build a larger one north of the existing skate park. Opponents of that move are seeking historical designation for the concrete structure that has been there since the early 70’s.

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