Tampa City Council gives preliminary approval to changing 7th Avenue signs

But she said the spelling (or mis-spelling) was embarrassing nonetheless.

"I don?t think it?s right to show that the natives look ignorant and uneducated," she said, concerned that, with the national attention Ybor will receive when the Republican convention hits town this summer, the area could become the subject of ridicule.

Mario Nunez said the time to change the signs was now. "What's next? Changing the name from Tampa to Tampa Bay?...When will this foolishness stop?"

Two former members of City Council, Mary Alvarez and Joe Chillura, also advocated that the city change the spelling of the signs.

Alvarez commended the dedication of Costantino for bringing the issue back before Council, who had the opportunity three years ago to change the signs and voted against doing so.

Chillura asked playfully, "How do you spell relief? Change the sign."

Vince Pardo from the Ybor City Development Corporation said previous estimates for replacing one sign would be $171.57. Multiply that by 10, and the total cost to the Ybor Community Redevelopment Corporation would be $1,715.70.

Council Chair Charlie Miranda is the only member of the Council/CRA born and raised in Ybor. He spoke about how, growing up in the neighborhood, communications were less formal. "We had our own language that was never written, never explained," he reminisced to his colleagues.

Saying he wasn't sure who was right or who was wrong about the spelling, he was the only member of the board who opposed the measure. (Yolie Capin was absent for the vote. She had said before departing that perhaps the city could compromise by providing signs or markers explaining the use of such colloquialisms).

The Tampa City Council, acting today as the Community Redevelopment Agency, voted 5-1 to approve changing 10 different signs along Seventh Avenue in Ybor City from "La Setima" to "La Septima," which a number of community leaders in Ybor have argued for years is the proper spelling.

Leading the charge to have the Council change the signs that have read "La Setima" since 1998 was Fran Costantino, president of the East Ybor Neighborhood Association. She came before the Council with a variety of props, such as stationary and a set of books that she said all reference the correct spelling as "La Septima."

She said she meant no disrespect toward Ybor historian and author Frank Lastra. As the Tampa Bay Times reported on Thursday, Lastra was the chief proponent of adding the colloquially spelled "La Setima" markers back in 1996.

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