Archive: September, 2005

Latest News (September 3, 2005)

As most of you know the August 2nd Referendum Bond (which would have provided the infrastructure for the downtown revitalization) was defeated. The official Bond ballot language was “to finance or refinance acquisition, equipping and/or construction of land, parks, greenways, roads, highways and related infrastructure in the Downtown Temple Terrace Revitalization Master Plan.”

The reasons folks had for voting No for the Bond were as varied as days in the year (the unfortunate negativity of the St. Petersburg Times and the Temple Terrace Beacon didn’t help). The primary reasons appear to be the proposed density of the downtown plan, the proposed 18 story condo tower, locating public buildings like the City Hall and Performing Arts Center, some thought the Master Plan was “too big” or didn’t like the fact that we are down to one developer in the Request for Proposal process and some folks just didn’t want to pay the 1 mill tax increase.

One of the more serious issues to come from the August 2nd Bond defeat is that some Vote No folks feel the Bond defeat gives them a mandate to pursue selfish agendas. Some would like to reverse our current redevelopment process of finding a New Urbanist Master Developer that will build “the citizen plan” and just send the proposal back out for a developer, any developer, so that they can build whatever makes them a profit. This short sighted effort, sold under the guise of expediency (those debts need to be paid…), is often intertwined with a desire to enable friends and buddies “getting in on the action.”

Regardless, the Downtown Revitalization and the general Revitalization of Temple Terrace will continue and is continuing despite the August 2nd Referendum Bond defeat! The real meaning behind the August 2nd defeat is that we will not have the Bond money for the public infrastructure as planned. The first phase of the project will need to be scaled back, not necessarily because of the solidarity of the No! voters (which doesn’t exist), but because we simply don’t have the Bond money to construct Phase 1 as the citizens have initially master planned it. Since we are scaling Phase 1 back out of necessity, it is the proper time to implement some of the revisions recommended by the Yes! and the No! voters alike.

Despite August 2nd, positive change large and small is happening all around us and its going in one positive direction, that is, towards making a better Temple Terrace for our children and us. Here’s a few of the local initiatives that are proceeding to Revitalize our city:

a) The Temple Terrace Preservation Society is restarting the Historic Homes Tour this year after many years of not having one, the Society has also received a Grant from the State to update our Historic Resources Survey which is the first step towards putting individual properties on the National Historic Register and creating a Temple Terrace Thematic Historic District. TTPS will also begin collecting oral histories from our oldest residents on their recollections of old Temple Terrace.

b) A group of neighbors have been working with the Country Club to naturalize the golf course pond on hole 3, thus far they’ve added an aerator fountain, landscaping, and fish.

c) A group of citizens have begun to informally replant oaks and pines in the roughs of the golf course

d) The Friends of the Temple Terrace Parks and Recreation Dept. have adopted the re-introduction of bats to Temple Terrace as one of their main projects, this effort will culminate in the reconstruction of our 1920s Temple Terrace Bat Tower constructed by Dr. Campbell to control malaria carrying mosquitoes. The group has received a $1000 anonymous donation to begin placing bat roost boxes in local natural areas. A single bat can eat hundreds of mosquitoes an hour.

e) The Temple Terrace Parks and Recreation Department has received a $150,000 State grant to beautify 56th Street from Busch Boulevard to Fowler

f) $500,000 has been allocated by the Federal Government towards beautifying Busch Boulevard from 56th Street to Florida Avenue

g) Regarding the Downtown Revitalization, Pepin Distributing will spearhead a capital campaign to raise $2 million and the Federal Government has allocated an additional 2.4 million. In addition, Temple Terrace Parks and Recreation is applying for a $250,000.00 Matching Grant for the Redevelopment Park along the river.

h) The Temple Terrace Garden Club has almost finished their rehabilitation of Woodmont Park which includes irrigation, benches, landscaping and plant markers.

i) A new group has been created called Friends of Bonnie Brae Park that will raise money for new play equipment for their park.

j) The Woodmont Clubhouse Association will begin a fundraising campaign to restore the circa 1922 Woodmont Clubhouse.

k) Lastly, the CRTT welcomes a new grassroots activist group dedicated towards positive change and making Temple Terrace a better place to live into the fold. The group is called Citizens for Development in Temple Terrace (CDITT) and their website is The more positive grassroots groups Temple Terrace has the merrier!

Here’s some additional regional news that relates to our Revitalization:

Supporters for a New Tampa Cultural Center have given up on their efforts to create a $20 million 650 seat theater arts facility in New Tampa, although this is not good news for New Tampa, it strengthens the rationale for Temple Terrace creating its own Cultural Education Complex in the downtown Revitalization area.

A 200,000 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter is proposed for a 34.9 acre parcel of land between Temple Terrace Highway and Harney Road. The rezoning hearing for the Wal-Mart is scheduled for October 17th, 6pm, at the Hillsborough County Commissioners Boardroom, second floor, Fred B. Karl County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.. Instead of building its huge monolithic box prototype it would be advantageous if Temple Terrace would request a store that is a little more regionally and community friendly which is the direction Wal-Mart has been going in other cities that have demanded it. Here’s a recent article form the Wall Street Journal on the advent of regionally and community sensitive Wal-Marts.

Under Pressure, ‘Big Box’ Chains Redesign Stores

The University Square Mall appears to be on its last legs. A recent Tampa Tribune article described the mall has becoming a “working class mall” and it’s struggle to survive is based on increasing competition with newer malls, especially those being built in Pasco County. USF holds classes in the old movie theaters and has become an investor. There has been speculation that it may be the future site of a new USF Football Stadium.

The City of Oldsmar has chosen Clearwater developer JES Properties to build their $64-million 5.5 acre downtown revitalization plan, it is envisioned to be walkable, mixed use….sound familiar?

Sulphur Springs has formed an Action League that will refurbish Sulphur Springs Park culminating in the placement of a 224-foot elevator within the Sulphur Springs Water Tower for public viewing. The elevator was originally part of the towers 1920s design but was never installed.

Tampa Mayor Pan Iorio recently sent a Letter to the Editor to the Tribune titled “A Vision for Downtown Tampa”. Here’s a link to that article . In her article Mayor Iorio outlines a Vision for Tampa’s downtown that is surprisingly similar to our own Downtown Vision: a livable, walkable, mixed use, downtown that is vibrant and alive. Which city will be the first to build this Vision? Stay tuned…..