Bro Bowl Update from Clem
Posted on Tuesday, November 14, 2006 by Rob Meronek
Bro Bowl Update from Clem: This is to clear up whatever rumors you may have heard about the Bro Bowl in Tampa. Please read the letter from the citizen (Pamela) and then the response from Brad Suder from the City. Looks like we're not going to be able to keep the actual Bro Bowl, but we're going to get a replica of it on site at the other end of Perry Harvey Park. In addition to the Bro Bowl, we're going to be getting more a skate park that's going to be free, always open, and un-manned (no pad nannies). We'll keep you updated.
THIS IS THE LETTER FROM PAMELA TO BRAD FROM THE CITY OF TAMPA:Dear Mr.Suder,
I hope the costs that might be incurred tearing down an already existing public skateboarding area, aka the 'Bro Bowl', in Tampa will be worth the costs in rebuilding a new one. I'm sure if the city has done a comparative cost/maintenance analysis of other cities in the state with public skateboarding facilities, they will discover that concrete is by far the best choice. However, the material used in the Bro Bowl would be an outdated inclusion in such comparisons. The upside is that it already exists and the maintenance, such as it is, is fairly low.
Is there a URL for the conceptual plans for Perry Harvey park, and any future decisions regarding that, available to the public? I would appreciate knowing what it is if you could send it at your convenience.
I'm sure you are well aware of the feelings on the part of the skateboarding community regarding these matters so I won't be redundant. I would only like to know that we are kept apprised of current or future plans.
THIS IS BRAD'S RESPONSE TO PAMELA:Pamela,
Thanks for writing in. I need to find the right vehicle, possibly SPOT, to keep the skateboarding community informed of all progress. I apologize on the length of this response but I am copying a few other very interested parties that have asked for updates since the charettes and others whose messages hit home. However slow it may appear to all that are concerned about the Bowl, we are working diligently to provide a safe but challenging public skating spot in downtown Tampa at Perry Harvey Sr. Park.
During our evaluations of the site, the program elements of all of the partners associated with the proposed Central Park Village redevelopment, the interests of the community, the interests of all users of the Park, the goals and objectives of the Parks and Recreation Department, the rich historical context of this piece of earth, the importance of the site to a not-so-unique sport and it's community, etc., one unbeknownst item unexpectedly came to light that strongly influenced our decisions. It was the fact that the Florida Department of Transportation conducted a study over ten years ago and received a sign-off from the City that Orange avenue would need to be widened in the future to accommodate the ultimate build-out of the I-4/I-275 Interchange. It was stated that it would need to be widened to the east since a historical church and community center would be impacted to the west. That study (a Section 4F) described the impacts to the park that included the bowl. That can not change. The current design and construction work is based on the traffic engineers knowing the "ultimate' alignments.
So, we needed to make the best out of a truly sad situation for the skateboard community that is barely aware of this "new" information. While we have the opportunity, we decided to plan for a multi-purpose skate/bike facility that for all intents and purposes will be all concrete and remain open at all times. We have a commitment from Banc of America and the Tampa Housing Authority to replicate the "Bowl" (if that is what the skateboard community wants) in its entirety and construct additional skate elements in Phase I as part of the Development Agreement associated with Central Park Village. I am working with other City Departments and others to make sure that happens. We also intend to design the entire skate facility at the current time and make budget requests in future years to complete it. I will begin a public skatepark input process soon to see exactly what can and should be accomplished in Phase I as well as the rest of the skatepark.
I have received close to 700 e-mails and written comment sheets to save skateboarding, the bowl, etc. It is best summed up that Skateboarders rallied to save the Bowl and the Bowl saved skateboarding. We have the opportunity to secure skateboarding at Perry Harvey Park and possibly have the Bowl take a stroll across the park and settle into new surroundings if that's what people want. I have already had a lengthy discussion with the executive director of the Tony Hawk Foundation to find out the best ways they can assist us in our efforts (Design/mini-grants, etc.)
I realize this is not the best answer that everybody wanted to see in the end. But it is actually good that we found out about this now. With some patience and assistance, I believe the skateboarding community will have a better place and reason to visit downtown Tampa.
That is a good idea about posting the conceptual plan for people to see. Please note that it is very conceptual at this point. Give me a few days and then check in the Parks and Recreation Department under www.TampaGov.net