Tampa says Vila Brothers Park isn't for parking, but latest city work there concerns neighbors
Just days after City Hall said it would let the Bryan Glazer Family Jewish Community Center use Vila Brothers Park for overflow event parking just three more times, tops, residents got an unsettling surprise.
On Monday, Armory Gardens Civic Association president Sandy Sanchez noticed a city work crew at the park installing a line of heavy wooden posts around the playground. When she asked why, she said city employees told her it was to protect the playground from the cars that would be parking in the park, which is just across N Armenia Avenue from the JCC.
“Needless to say, this is of GREAT concern,” she said in an email to residents and city officials. The posts will interfere with groups who use the park for games of soccer, lacrosse and football, and do not appear in the city’s long-range plans to improve the park. What park residents want, she said, are upgrades like drinking fountains, bathrooms and shade.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who last week wrote the civic association to say that he regrets the problem is occurring and that “the Vila Brothers Park is a park and will remain a park,” said on Wednesday the work does not represent a change in the city’s position.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re planning on allowing any more parking than what we said,” Buckhorn said, adding that the work was being done “out of an abundance of caution” to protect the playground.
“The neighbors shouldn’t be worried,” he said. “That’s just precautions. That’s all.”