This week Eric Newman from the Newman’s Cigar Factory will be the guest on the Tampa Natives Show. The Newman Cigar Factory is the only remaining cigar factory operating in Ybor City. The factory is currently fighting new FDA regulations that will likely put the factory out of business. This will end a significant element of Tampa’s cultural identity. You can see information on the threat at: Save Cigar City.
Please join concerned citizens at Mann Wagnon Memorial Park, 110 East River Cove St., Tampa 33604, on March 3 at 10:30am for a Press Conference to discuss the preservation and future use of the historic fish camp and art studios at the park.
On Thursday, January 23rd, the Tampa City Administration will be providing a cost estimate to City Council for modernizing Cuscaden Pool while retaining its historic features. The current proposed plan is to retain the historic fabric of the exterior, and to build a brand new pool on the interior.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!
The V.M. Ybor Neighborhood Association is asking you to contact your City Council members to advocate for funds to be allocated for the necessary repairs and upgrades to Cuscaden Pool. You can assist by:
1. Attending Council on Thursday, January 23rd to speak during the Public Comments section at 9:00am (315 E. Kennedy Blvd, 3rd Fl.)
2. Emailing all Council Members
3. Calling Councilman Frank Reddick, VM Ybor area councilman: (813) 274-8189 or any At-Large Council Member
Background: The historic Cuscaden Pool was once the well-used jewel of the V.M. Ybor community when it was built in 1937 as part of the WPA Program. It was closed in the 1997 due to disrepair and then rehabilitated and restored in the mid-2000s thanks in large part to a federal grant and CIT funding ($2,600,000+). The official re-opening came in 2005 – much to the delight of residents.
Unfortunately, residents and stakeholders in the Central Tampa / V.M. Ybor neighborhood have not had access to this local, community pool since early 2010. The historic pool and community facilities, weight room, classrooms, and exercise rooms were open for just 5 seasons before being closed due to water infiltration and pool filtration problems. In addition to the pool, this facility housed an after school program that was extremely beneficial to the families in our community.
Residents of the Town of Belleair are seeking help against the request to demolish the grand wood-framed 4-1/2 story hotel built for Henry Plant in 1896. Current owners want to demolish the hotel and guest cottages and build condominiums on the site. You can support area residents in their efforts to preserve this unique part of Florida’s history by attending the Tuesday January 17, 2011 Belleair Town Meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Belleair Town Hall, 901 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. If you are unable to attend the meeting, make your opinion known by sending emails to local officials (see contact info here). In addition, preservationists ask the following:
Unfortunately KAWA (the current owner) has absolutely no interest in restoring the hotel themselves and is currently trying to sell it since they bought it. Currently KAWA has plans to build 180 townhomes after demolishing the Biltmore. There is a long legal process including rescinding the 2005 preservation ordinance that would have to take place for this to happen, BUT the important fact is that Belleair officials need to know citizens STILL want the Biltmore saved.
If you know of any investors, developers, hoteliers or real estate companies to contact to purchase the hotel OR if you know of investors who might be willing to help other investors in the renovation process, let me know as soon as possible! We have spent a lot of time writing to possible investors, but we need YOUR help also again at this time to help save the Biltmore since the current owners unfortunately have NO interest in renovating this magnificent hotel!
Please, please contact any realtor in your area or email them from the web and let them know the Biltmore is in urgent need of a buyer. Mention our web site www.savethebiltmore.com so they can contact us.
Our goal would be to help put together a team of investors to save the hotel in case one buyer does not have sufficient investors for its renovation in these challenging economic times.
The hotel offers an opportunity for the area to have a unique destination that would be an economic boon to the town if the right investor steps forward. Additional way you can help are also found on the www.SavetheBiltmore.com website as well as some background history.
News story from the Tampa Bay Times: http://www.tampabay.com/news/localgovernment/article1209820.ece with some more information.