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Council approves Super Bowl 'Clean Zone'

A few protesters said the ordinance violates property rights and limits entrepreneurship.

By CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2000


TAMPA -- It's official: When the Super Bowl arrives in Tampa next month, the so-called "Clean Zone" will come, too.

Despite objections from a handful of protesters, the City Council spoke with a single voice Thursday, voting unanimously to approve an ordinance restricting commerce and advertising around Raymond James Stadium from Jan. 17-29.

The ordinance is meant to prevent a free-for-all of merchants targeting the masses in town for Super Bowl XXXV, to protect official NFL vendors from unlicensed competition and to keep cars and pedestrians moving smoothly.

The zone would stretch from Lois Avenue east to Glen Avenue, and from Hillsborough Avenue south to Palmetto Avenue. It would include the Tampa Bay Center mall and Tampa Bay Office Park. The ordinance will ban inflatable ad balloons and open-air cooking. It will require vendors to operate out of stores or set up shop in approved tents.

Michael Kelly, executive director of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl Task Force, reminded the City Council on Thursday that the city promised the NFL it would create such a zone when it bid for the Super Bowl.

Speaking before the council, people opposing the ordinance called it a violation of property rights and a stifling of entrepreneurship. Some also said the city provided late notice of the plan.

Council chairman Charlie Miranda said the ordinance would not forbid residents from parking cars on their properties to make a few bucks during the big game.

Activist Mauricio Rosas, who presented the council with a petition opposing the ordinance, asked Miranda if the city would supply residents signs to facilitate such parking.

"This city is not going to give out signs," Miranda said.

- Christopher Goffard can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or goffard@sptimes.com.

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