The flap over the location of that Princess Ulele bust near the Riverwalk is unworthy of the flappers–Bob Buckhorn and Richard Gonzmart. The latter, a natural resource for Tampa for all he has envisioned and invested, had ordered and paid for the public art, an homage to Native Americans. But yes, Gonzmart came up short on due diligence; it wasn’t on Gonzmart’s Ulele Restaurant property, but technically on public land. At variance with codes. But it was hardly “clutter.” That seemed insensitive and petty. The city ordered it removed, and it’s now in a warehouse. So much for that artistic homage to our roots and our historic diversity.
While it would have been fitting for the two sides to have reached an accommodation shy of warehouse exile, there is one aspect that has been overlooked. The 1,600-pound, 8-by-8-by 6-foot bust–atop a three-foot base–was disproportionately large for the site, private or public.
Surely a compromise can be worked out. This river-oriented mayor and this civic-investment, private-sector treasure are both proven can-do sorts. Maybe Princess Ulele could be relocated to the waterfront side of the aesthetically-challenged Blake High School. And it would be big enough to be seen from the other side.