Archive: December, 2003

Latest News (December 21, 2003)

First the good news, in mid-November our City hired Ralph S. Bosek, P.E. as our new CRA (TTRA) Director. Ralph has been a resident of Temple Terrace since 1981. He has over 25 years of Project Management experience and in the past has been Vice President of TECO/BGA, President of Bosek, Gibson and Associates, Inc. (a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering organization involved with energy efficiency), and was Vice President of Delta Engineering.

Now the bad news, in our new CRA Director’s words, our Downtown Revitalization has suffered “a setback, but by no means a defeat.” Dover, Kohl & Partners has abruptly withdrawn from consideration as our Downtown Revitalization Town Planners. According to City Manager Kim Leinbach, the firm mentioned it had taken other planning jobs in the interim four months since they were recommended as the city’s selected Town Planner and would not have the resources to tackle our project.

To overcome this apparent setback, CRA Director Bosek is seamlessly and energetically initiating contract negotiations with the next Town Planner on the short list, Torti Gallas and Partners of Silver Spring, Maryland. Torti Gallas and Partners gave a public presentation on the same day as Dover Kohl and the selection committee recommended to the City Manager and CRA (TTRA) that if a contract could not be worked out with Dover Kohl, then Torti would be the preferred choice. Mr. Bosek stated that it is his goal to have a signed contract with the firm by mid-January.

Torti, Gallas and Partners ( is a nationally recognized Town Planning and Architecture firm whose Town Planning Philosophy is to “create Town Centers that integrate architecture and the public realm, and ensure that buildings and neighborhoods contribute to the cities and towns of which they are a part, physically, socially, and economically.”

In addition, it remains our hope that the City will consider having our Town Planner implement their version of the New Urbanist SmartCode at the time they create the Master Plan and the Design Guidelines, as an overlay and enhancement to the current City Code.

Lastly, we have received many queries regarding the process our City is using for its Downtown Revitalization; some folks are unclear how it works. The Temple Terrace process is based partially on the planning model of CityPlace, which is a successful mixed use, high density, walkable New Urbanist Downtown Revitalization in West Palm Beach, Florida. CityPlace is much larger than our own 19-acre project but its economic structure (in which the City only pays for the infrastructure) is a superb model for our own Revitalization. In my opinion CityPlace is the best Downtown Revitalization in Florida, and one of the best in the country. Many may remember Kevin Lawler’s presentation in May 2002 providing the first financial model for the viability of revitalizing the SE Quadrant.

Following is a typical Downtown Revitalization Process (based on CityPlace and our own progress thus far):

1) The City of Temple Terrace gains control of the parcels in the Southeast Quadrant Revitalization area and concurrently…

2) Hires a CRA Director to plan, direct, and organize the activities and programs of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) including negotiation for complete property acquisition in the SE Quadrant, facilitation of public charrettes with the planner/designer, design review, marketing, and coordination of the City’s economic development activities.

3) The City chooses a New Urbanist Town Planning firm. After the City gains control of the parcels in the Southeast Quadrant, the selected Town Planner creates a market-driven Master Plan of all four Downtown quadrants and adjacent areas via the Public Charrettes process, where there is intense public involvement. The Design Guidelines and Zoning Overlays for the Downtown quadrants are created simultaneously along with a SmartCode for the rest of the City.

4) The CRA Director and the Town Planner will then use the Master Plan and Design Guidelines to convey the City’s and its citizens’ intent for the design and function of their Downtown to the Development Teams. Later, the CRA Director will work intensely to help select the best Development Teams in order to insure that the design intent of the Citizen’s Master Plan created by the Town Planner is implemented by the chosen Development Teams.

5) A good Town Planner will attract good Development Teams; we prefer Development Team(s) rather than a single developer. More than one developer will mean additional work for the City but the Revitalization will be better by avoiding the clichéd and unvaried appearance that was created by one developer in a short time ala Disney. Historically, downtowns were not created that way! As Development Teams are brought on board, control of some of the Revitalization parcels previously controlled by the City may be transferred to them. The mix of civic buildings and private sector development will be addressed during the planning process. The City may retain some parcels for public buildings and perhaps a parking garage. However, the City intends to get out of the real estate business as soon as it becomes economically feasible.

6) Citizen D’ee Griffith, Council member Jo Jeter, and others, can begin battling for the Townhouse with the best view in our Revitalized Southeast Quadrant!

7) Lastly, it is our hope that the Downtown Revitalization, if accomplished following the proven success of this New Urbanist Process, will kindle a positive Revitalization energy in our Downtown area and the City in general. Optimistically, the Revitalization energy from our Southeast Quadrant will spread outward from the Revitalized area (technically called a “halo effect”) to the three neighboring Downtown Quadrants as well as the adjacent Residential areas—eventually pushing the blighted areas further away from our City Core. This exact scenario is currently taking place at CityPlace in West Palm Beach; please visit that Revitalization if you get the chance!