Archive: June, 2001

Summer 2001

Summer 2001: The members of the Concerned Citizens for the Revitalization of Temple Terrace have urged our City Council members to vote for abandoning the proposed Riverhills location for the “Town Center” theatre facility. (Note: The Council voted 3-2 in support of Councilman Joe Affronti’s resolution on September 18, 2001). We suggest that these resources might be used in a public/private partnership to stimulate the revitalization of the SE Quadrant at 56th Street and Bullard Parkway before it is too late. There is risk involved, but the greater risk is in not taking action. We envision a pedestrian-friendly downtown area based upon a design scheme incorporating civic and commercial buildings. Instead of the bland “strip mall” approach, we want a cohesive plan that fosters a sense of place in a human-scale environment with tree-covered walkways, indoor-outdoor restaurants, tables and benches. Council Member Joe Affronti, seconded by Council Member King, proposed a resolution on December 4, 2001 that was approved by the Council accepting the proposal from J. K. Lawler Associates, Inc. to be the City’s consultant for the redevelopment. Vote on the motion was as follows: Council Members Affronti, Chillura, Jeter and King voting, “aye,” without a “nay.” Council Member Knapp was absent and did not vote. Our downtown should look more like the best sections of Hyde Park or Naples and less like Fowler Ave or Dale Mabry/Carrollwood. Do we dare dream about this potential for our city?

The American Architectural Foundation has produced a series of video tapes documenting how the New Urbanist process works. Is it possible that Temple Terrace can find a way to reverse the blight and achieve architectural beauty in the downtown area? The town of Mashpee in Massachusetts, founded in 1870, never had a cohesive center. After seeing the uncontrolled growth and sprawl of roadside commercial development throughout neighboring Cape Cod towns, Mashpee committed to a plan for a New Town Center.

We have toured several facilities on a trip through south Florida including the 5th Ave. S. shopping district in Old Naples and the brand new CityPlace in West Palm Beach. (picture at right)

Each one had a focal point theatre as its nucleus. Admittedly, we are not the resort community of Naples, nor do we have the vast growth projections of West Palm Beach, but many of us were originally attracted to this charming community because of its leafy streets with stately homes set between the well-manicured golf course and riverbanks. Our property values will suffer if something isn’t done to remedy the eyesore surrounding the vacant Publix at the Terrace Plaza. Citizens of Temple Terrace care greatly about our quality of life and deserve to have something better at the heart of our city.

Can you find the theatre in this picture on the left? The small playhouse for an amateur company, The Naples Players, is right in the middle of an elegant shopping district surrounded by sidewalk cafes, art galleries, jewelry stores and boutiques shaded with wonderful landscaping, large royal palms and beautifully flowering hedges. The upper stories house financial services, medical offices and design studios. In the midst of all of this is “The Sugden Theatre,” an indoor 330-seat theatre set back from the street fronted by the “Baker Outdoor Stage,” basically a stone courtyard with trees and cafe tables on the sides. This picture of the playhouse courtyard was taken from across the street. Notice the outdoor restaurant tables on either side of the tree-lined plaza. The theatre is revealed when you stand directly in front as in the picture below.


In West Palm Beach, CityPlace was designed around a theatre that was originally the First United Methodist Church. It was one of the finest examples of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture when it was built in the 1920s. Now it has been renovated into a fabulous performance space that offers a wide variety of cultural programming, including a Sunday jazz series, a concert series and many plays and touring shows.

The picture below was taken from one of the tables in the center plaza. You can see the outdoor stage where concerts take place. The theatre has a huge clock on its facade and restaurants on the lower level.


The former church is now named The Harriet Himmel Gilman Theater for Cultural and Performing Arts in honor of Mrs. Gilman’s generous gift to complete its restoration. It handles music, dance and drama. It is also available for special events, receptions, banquets, meetings and other activities. The Harriet is the centerpiece of CityPlace, and its architectural style is the model for the basic design philosophy of the entire development.


The performance hall contains 11,000-square-feet with retractable seating that can accommodate 400-850 people for theater performances; 900 guests for receptions; banquet-style seating for 600; and up to 60 units for trade show exhibitions. The Harriet is at the center of a beautiful area with shops and restaurants within walking distance of the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

Here are more photos from these two model developments and three pictures from a renovated section of Old Ft. Lauderdale: