Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn's annual address set for Kress building

TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn was scheduled to deliver his second state of the city address at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, but not at City Hall or the Tampa Convention Center or even Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, the site of last year's speech.

Instead, he was to speak inside the historic but vacant Kress building at 811 N Franklin St.

Built in 1929, the former department store is on the National Register of Historic Places. It has been empty for decades, though that didn't stop a party planner from spending a reported $660,000 to convert it and two adjacent buildings into a hot-ticket party space for the week of the Republican National Convention last year.

Buckhorn said he has no big announcement about the Kress, but wants to highlight that it's available for redevelopment.

So it's a safe bet that energizing distinctive Tampa places and spaces will be a big theme of Buckhorn's speech today.

He has plenty of examples to offer.

There's the historic federal courthouse, which a developer is transforming into a boutique hotel with the mayor's enthusiastic blessing. There's also Water Works Park, where the city has worked for more than a year to bring in a riverfront restaurant run by the owner of the Columbia Restaurant. And there's the west bank of the Hillsborough River, where Buckhorn envisions creating a walkable, trendy urban village.

However optimistic, Buckhorn also faces big challenges. Asked last week what he worries about the most, he said, "hurricanes are always top of the list, but I can't control that so I try not to spend a lot of time focusing on it."

That leaves the speed of the economic recovery and its drag on the city's budget. Heading into the 2013-14 fiscal year, Buckhorn has to close a gap of $20 to $25 million between revenues and projected expenses.

"We're still going to have a difficult budget year this year," he said. "So in spite of all the good things that are going on, we still lag in revenue collection."

This will be the third budget where Buckhorn's administration has started with a shortfall that big or bigger. (It was $27.8 million last year and $34.5 million two years ago.) He expects to close the gap this year in "half-million-dollar increments." That could mean delaying capital improvement projects or "sweeping" the escrow accounts of some projects that are winding down and still have money unspent.

"All the low fruit has been picked," he said. "This year, potentially, the decisions will be a little more painful."

Layoffs?

"Don't know," Buckhorn said. "I was able to not do it the first two years. I'm hopeful that I won't have to do it this year, but I can't say for sure now that I will be able to."

Asked whether there will be anything about transit in the speech, he said, "there might be."

Buckhorn's speech is free and open to the public, though you don't have to go downtown to hear it live.

It will be broadcast on City of Tampa Television, which is Ch. 615 on Bright House Networks and Ch. 15 on the Verizon FIOS system.

Or you can watch online at tampagov.net. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "CTTV Live Webcast."

Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn's annual address set for Kress building 03/26/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:47pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101