Mayor On Museum: “It Will Happen”

Obviously she meant it.

Mayor Pam Iorio had told Tampa Museum of Art officials to meet a very rigid standard of financial accountability before she would sign off on the new one. They didn’t, and she didn’t have to.

Let’s forsake the recriminations – including a smaller museum for the original cost — and pass on the subplots and agendas as well. All involved want the same end: what’s best for Tampa – from a vibrant arts environment to downtown synergy. Speculation on future economic cycles and interest-rate roulette is just that: speculation.

This much, however, needs underscoring.

*TMA’s leadership is a problem. The city deserved better than a long-running potboiler masquerading as a first-class capital campaign. Lots of doors went unknocked.

*A woefully inadequate incumbent facility still mocks the spirit of a “new millennium city.”

*Tampa also deserved better than Rafael Vinoly’s signature homage to car ports. He was to Dick Greco what Wilson Alvarez was to Vince Naimoli. Neither delivered; both cost too much; and the costs kept mounting in their wakes.

One can only wonder what a better design, one that galvanized – not polarized – a community from the get-go, would have yielded. In all likelihood, not this.

But put it this way – as the mayor recently did:

“We will have a new arts museum for Tampa,” Iorio told the gathering at her ‘State of the City’ presentation. “It will happen.

“When one idea falters, it should not be seen as a loss, but as a time for rebirth of new ideas – as a time for opportunity.”

In a speech otherwise suffused with prosaic passages, this was as close to soaring rhetoric as the mayor’s presentation would get.

But given the mayor’s track record on this issue, she gets the benefit of the doubt.

Obviously she meant it.

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