Better late than never? Bob Buckhorn now says he'll find money to repair east Tampa pool

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That led to Buckhorn's comment to the St. Pete Times Editorial Board last Thursday afternoon that "all he needed was four votes," essentially blowing off Reddick's concerns.

As Cl reported on Monday, Reddick was angered by that response, calling it "unprofessional," and "not diplomatic," and said that he heard from approximately 20 people the following day that also were surprised by the mayor's response.

The story has been cast as a clash between competing parts of the city. As the Times' Parker reports, when another swimming pool in Tampa that also been shut down for several years was reopened this summer in South Tampa, members from the heavily African-American east Tampa neighborhood descended upon the City Council to register their unhappiness about what they perceived as to the city's priorities.

But Buckhorn's chief of staff Santiago Corrada tells the Times the issue was not one of inequality.

The decision makes a winner out of Frank Reddick, who used his maximum leverage as a member of council last week by declaring that he would not vote for Buckhorn's budget. The District 5 Council member had been under pressure from his constituents to demand answers to the situation with Williams Pool. With Buckhorn's announcement, Reddick can tell them that, on this issue anyway, he has delivered for them.

Six days after Bob Buckhorn responded aggressively when challenged to find money in his proposed budget to repair a closed down swimming pool in east Tampa, the Mayor now says there are funds available from community tax revenue to repair the structure.

In exclusive comments given to the St. Pete Times Elisabeth Parker, the mayor says that it was only a question of knowing how much money was needed to repair Williams Pool, "But the money had always been there."

Buckhorn says that it was all about waiting to get the exact amount needed to repair the pool from a consultant's study, which apparently was finished within the past few days. Last week, city staffers indicated to City Council members that the study would not be finished for a number of weeks, if not later.
(The study apparently says the cost to repair the pool will be $1.2 million).

The decision is a win for the residents of east Tampa who have gone without the use of the WIlliams Park Pool for over three years now, and also a win for their elected representative on the City Council, Frank Reddick, who threatened last week to vote against Buckhorn's proposed fiscal year 2012 budget unless he found the funds to repair the pool.

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