Notably, not even the Pamglossian mayor could wax effusive about the blight stuff that is Central Park Village redevelopment. “I’ll skip over that for now,” quipped Iorio. It was intended to be – and succeeded as – a bittersweet laugh line.
The squalid, northeast gateway to downtown has been hostage to a dysfunctional city-county dynamic, as well as Hillsborough County Commission grandstanding over a special taxing district. Most recently the commission – spearheaded by Commissioner Tom Scott – has demanded, among other last-minute requirements of city council, changes in the makeup of the city Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board. The CRA issue remains a point of contention pending the commission’s final vote June 21.
The sobering reality is that the further removed Central Park Village redevelopment gets from the large-scale Civitas project that the commission sandbagged in 2004, the more like “public housing” it’s likely to be. And the more parochial dithering there is, the more Bank of America, the key private investor, has to wonder about its commitment to Tampa’s political ground zero. And the more delays there are, the more construction costs continue to mount.
That’s a lot worth skipping over.
Ironically, the luncheon’s invocation was given by Commissioner Scott. Too bad he didn’t call upon the Deity for some redevelopment enlightenment.