On the eve of panhandling vote, Tampa City Council to hear from public on Buckhorn budget

That's because in addition to Williams and Interbay pool in South Tampa having structural issues that have been in the news, three other city pools have been closed down this summer due to a variety of problems, most predominant being the need for anti-entrapment devices around their drains, as required by the federal government.

In Davis Islands, citizens are eager to get the Roy E. Jenkins pool back in use. The city has estimated the cost to repair that pool at $4 million, but residents say that includes some extra features that aren't needed, and they believe the true cost is around $2.5 million.

In any event, several of those citizens intend to speak before the City Council at their first of two scheduled public hearings on the Buckhorn proposed budget beginning this afternoon. Originally there was $6.5 million put in the budget for aquatics, but you can reduce that down to $5.3 million with the funds now earmarked for Williams pool.

The restoration of Jenkins pool has been a longtime goal for Davis Islands residents, who have on their own raised nearly half a million dollars of their own funds, according an article written by David Rice in the South Tampa Community News.

Rice writes that Davis Islands may have as much as $485,000 of funding available, between funds leftover from the transfer of property for the Tampa General Hospital parking garage and a trust fund that's been created.

And the community continues to do what they can to raise private funds, as well as raise awareness, which includes a major "Bluz & BBQ" event that will take place Saturday, October 15 at Curtis Hixon Park for free featuring six bands, including Damon Fowler closing out the night.

The Council will hear from the public tonight, and it will be interesting to see/hear if any speakers go off topic and discuss panhandling, which is not listed at all in the current budget, but will discussed yet again Thursday morning, with the possibility of the council voting on some sort of hybrid law, where they might allow for newspaper hawkers to do their thing, carving out an exception for them while banning panhandling for everyone else.

  • Roy Jenkins Pool

In his five months on the job, the only thing close to a controversy in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's tenure was his unfortunate rebuke to Council member Frank Reddick that "I only need four votes." The mayor made that comment came after an angry Reddick said he would not support Buckhorn's FY2012 budget if it didn't include funding for restoring Williams pool in East Tampa.

Reddick had been getting heat from his constituents for the fact that the swimming pool had been closed for years, and other members of council had also begun showing their frustration with city staff about finding out what the actual costs would be to repair the swimming pool, located in Williams Park off of MLK Blvd.

Ultimately, the city announced they had $1.2 million to fix the pool, where construction is scheduled to begin next year. But when the Tampa City Council gathers tonight at 5:01 p.m., they'll be hearing about funding for another swimming pool - this one in Davis Islands.

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