Save USF Forest Preserve protest planned for Friday

University of South Florida Tampa development Biology

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The University of South Florida has put out a Request for Information for land lease proposals to develop all or part of a natural area north of the Tampa campus. But students, faculty and community members are fighting back against the possible development of the USF Forest Preserve. The area is located north of Fletcher Avenue between the Hillsborough River and the USF Claw golf course. The preserve is used for field trips and research by students and faculty.

WMNF’s MidPoint Monday interviewed Jeannie Mounger, a PhD candidate in the Integrative Biology department at the University of South Florida.

The “Save the USF Forest Preserve protest” is Friday May 7 at 6:00 p.m. in front of the preserve at 6550 E. Fletcher Ave. in Tampa. An online flyer says “Join us as we call on USF to protect this land from development.”

In April, WMNF requested an interview with USF, but it was not granted. USF spokesperson Adam Freeman wrote in a statement:

“Attached is a copy of the request for information (RFI). The primary goal of the RFI is for the university to explore options that might be available on the property. The RFI allows USF to gauge interest and obtain information to consider the best strategy for a potential project, such as the possibility of a ground lease, that could provide greater financial resources to support the university’s mission and benefit our students, faculty and staff. However, USF is not required to take action on any of the proposals submitted by developers.”

Watch this interview:

You can find WMNF’s previous coverage of this topic here.

Later in the show we talked about bills that passed during the final days of the 2021 Florida Legislative Session.

Listen to the full show here.