St. Petersburg Times Online: News of Tampa and Hillsborough
TampaBay.com
Place an Ad Calendars Classified Forums Sports Weather
tampabay.com
Back
Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times

Tampa council okays new boathouse

In exchange for 5,200 hours of community service a year, a rowing club is allowed to build the facility at a city park.

By DAVID KARP, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 18, 2003


TAMPA -- Less than a mile from public housing projects, the Julian Lane Riverfront Park has long offered an oasis for the city's less fortunate residents. On Thursday, children ran in the park and men pumped iron as rap music played.

But soon, the sounds and sights of the downtown park on the Hillsborough River will change.

Under a deal approved Thursday by the City Council, a rowing club will build a two-story boathouse and sports center in the middle of the park. Rowers from elite northern schools such as Princeton and Yale, as well as students from the University of Tampa, Tampa Prep, Plant High , Hillsborough High and Berkeley Prep, will come to the center.

The Stewards Foundation, a non-profit rowing group, is building the boathouse and will pay the city $1 year for the land.

In return, the rowers say, the public will get improved facilities, and disadvantaged kids will get access to a sport they might never experience.

"We want to use the sport of rowing to teach teamwork and responsibility to young people," said Thomas Feaster, one of the center's organizers.

Two residents urged the City Council not to give away the public's land. They said the public park might be taken over by the rowers.

"It's the other way around," Feaster said. "We want to involve the kids there."

The $1-million rowing center will replace the boathouse at the University of Tampa. The private college has expanded so much recently that it no longer has room for visiting rowers.

Located just north of Tampa Prep's campus, the 25,000-square-foot rowing center will house more than 100 racing shells, canoes and kayaks. There will be a weight room, laundry center and classrooms.

The second floor will serve as a dormitory with 100 beds for visiting crews. The rest of the year, it will operate as a youth hostel.

Having children sleep overnight at the park will increase security at the park, organizers say. Staff will be at the center around the clock.

The rowing club also plans to build a deck that will open out to the public swimming pool in Riverfront Park. On one side of the pool will be the deck built for rowers; on the other side of the pool will be the public entrance.

Under the deal with the city, the rowers must perform 5,200 hours of community service a year.

To earn the community service, the club may sponsor rowing events with high school and college rowing clubs, teach rowing and boater safety classes, and run programs for the city recreation department, Boys and Girls Club, and YMCA.

The rowers must make "good faith efforts" to devote some of the hours to programs for disadvantage kids, according to the lease deal.

If they don't do all the community service hours, the rowers must pay $12 for every hour missed.

The rowers will also build the city recreation department a 5,000-square-foot building to replace an existing recreation center that will be demolished.

The mayor will appoint two members of the center's board, and the center will name one person from the West Riverfront neighborhood association to an advisory board.

On Thursday, Kenneth Little, a nearby resident and city firefighter who uses the park almost every day, wasn't sure how sharing space there would work.

"I understand it would help the college," he said, referring to the University of Tampa.

Little uses the park's weight room regularly. He also takes his four children to the recreation center almost every day after school.

They love water sports, and he thinks they could learn to enjoy rowing. But he wondered if he might end up having to take his children elsewhere to play.

"You really don't know what will happen," Little said. "It sounds like it's a 50-50 chance it could go either way."

-- David Karp can be reached at 226-3376 or karp@sptimes.com.

Print story Reuse or republish Subscribe to the Times

Back to Tampa area news
Back to Top

© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
 
Special Links
Mary Jo Melone
Howard Troxler


From the Times
Tampa bureaus

  • Ernest Hooper: West Tampa uncovering its hidden beauty
  • Tampa council okays new boathouse
  • Man arrested, accused of stabbing wife
  • Streetcar ridership higher than expected
  • Light rail movement gets federal approval to proceed
  • Military news

  • Brandon Times
  • Lunch with Ernest: Camp life replaces corporate
  • This is 'our gift to the city'
  • Roll models
  • I Live Here
  • People: On the back burner no more
  • A horse tale
  • Farmer's Market: A business built on straw
  • Zoning: What lies ahead for old house? Move it or lose it
  • Apollo Beach: More signs going up to protect manatees
  • Brandon: From one Relay For Life to four
  • Teens help out on the domestic front
  • Gardening: Gardeners welcome late blast of cool air
  • Money talks in this mayor's race
  • Notebook: Adult day care to relocate
  • Lane Ranger: MacDill sightseers and missing cow convoys
  • Prep notebook: Despite slump, Durant commands district
  • Soccer: Goalie guards net for three top-level teams
  • Letters: Take a moment to count life's many blessings

  • City Times
  • Amy Scherzer's Diary: Clinic award treasured
  • Homes: Dreadful rite of spring is here
  • Homes: Precious moments preserved
  • Touching messages recall young Marine
  • An unsinkable legend
  • What's Brewing?: Breaking chains of local fare
  • East Ybor: TV judge visiting to encourage voter drive
  • Seminole Heights: Politicians keep finger on pulse of city groups
  • What's in a name?: 'Old Fuss and Feathers' led troops
  • Profile: 'Lobstah's' the Maine thing
  • Flag store plants in new location
  • Tampa: Neighbors cataloging drug deal locations
  • Obituary: Beloved coach and respected silversmith
  • Wily rooster Wheezy still eludes capture
  • Palma Ceia: Neighbors hail new school fence

  • North of Tampa
  • Scents and accents
  • Town 'N Country: Civic picked her battles
  • Crazy for crustaceans
  • Lawsuit may bankrupt Sugarwood Grove
  • New Tampa: Highlands switching from rentals to condos
  • Gardeners welcome last blast of cool air
  • Oldsmar: Three decades -- and business is booming
  • Forgotten stuff can freshen rooms
  • Land O'Lakes: Importer introduces vintage offerings
  • Gaither still rough in the diamond
  • Citrus Park: Supporters want road plan to be made a priority
  • Letters: Our rights assured by others' sacrifices

  •