The claim by the City of Tampa that the Bro Bowl is the way of city and developer redevelopment plans for their Encore project is a false one. At 6500 square feet, the Bro Bowl occupies little more than 1% of the 11 acres that define Perry Harvey Sr. Park. See "Myths & Facts: Central Avenue, Perry Harvey Sr. Park, and the Bro Bowl
" at BroBowl.org.AN ENEMY OF HISTORY?
The assertion that the Bro Bowl stands in the way of honoring the African-American history of the area (a history that was ironically destroyed by city itself over period of several decades) is also fictitious. It's location and small footprint does not affect the planned history walk or any of the other features that honor the area's Aftrican-Amercian history. The Perry Harvey Sr. Park Skateboard Bowl is, in fact, very much a part of the black history of this neighborhood. See "A New Vision
" at BroBowl.org. NOT HISTORIC?
There are also claims that it is not historic, yet it is, and on a variety of levels. City of Tampa, State of Florida, and Federal National Park Service preservation officials have all confirmed that it has significant historical and cultural value. A number of non-profit and independent organizations also agree that it should be preserved. They include the Skateboarding Heritage Foundation
, Surfrider Foundation
, Florida Skate Museum
, Tony Hawk Foundation
, and Tampa Preservation, Inc.
Professional skaters such as Tony Hawk and Bob Burnquist also publicly support its preservation. (See Tony Hawk interview at BroBowl.org and Bob Burnquist interview at WDAE
.) As a unique representative of 1970s American architecture and innovation, an icon of American skate culture from an era in which the birth of modern skating and the X Games unfolded, and as part of the rich and diverse history of Perry Harvey Sr. Park (City of Tampa, 1978 to present), the city's only African-American public park, there is no mistaking that the Bro Bowl holds historic value. HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF?
The Meacham Elementary School, formerly located near Perry Harvey Sr. Park, was one of the first African-American public schools in the State of Florida. The City of Tampa, as it happened, bulldozed Meacham in 2007, just two years after this historic building had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places for being one of Florida's first and last remaining historic black public schools. [See the Wikipedia article here
, and The Tampa Tribune article here
.] Now they are complaining that African-American history is not being honored? Now they want to tear down more history from the area?BULLYING OR HARASSMENT?
Besides threats of demolition, there are also threats being made by Mayor Bob Buckhorn and the City of Tampa that if it is decided that the Bro Bowl remains, following the result of the Section 106 mitigation process that is currently taking place, the Bowl will become fenced, supervised, and regulated, which is contrary to the conditions of its listing on the National Register of Historic Places by the Federal office of the National Park Service. For over 36 years, the Bro Bowl, as Florida's first public skatepark, has served the Tampa and skateboarding communities as a free, unfenced, unsupervised facility, open 24/7 throughout the year. And this is what has also made the Bro Bowl both unique and historic. Modifying the environment of any property listed on the NRHP, besides changing the structure itself, is considered an adverse effect. Is this just?JUST THE BEGINNING
The Bro Bowl has witnessed nearly four decades of the ever-changing landscape known as Downtown Tampa. It has seen many a conflict, as well as united people of all ages, race, gender, background, and socio-economic status. As this historic structure prepares to meet the challenges it faces that will ultimately determine its future, we offer an insight as to what it has meant to our City and generations both past and present. What are your experiences? How has this piece of green concrete shaped your life, and how will it shape others? Reflect on this, and let your voice be heard. Sign the petition
, contact Mayor Buckhorn @: tampagov.net/dept_mayor/contact.asp
or contact Dennis Fernandez, Architectural Review & Historic Preservation Manager, at (813) 274-3100, option 3, or @ Dennis.Fernandez@tampagov.net
to encourage the City of Tampa to preserve this unique element of Tampa and American skateboarding history.
It is now, or never.