tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
Politics

Councilwoman Urges Tampa To Fix Kress Building

TAMPA - Hoping to preserve Tampa's architectural legacy, a city councilwoman has proposed spending $100,000 to repair the collapsing rooftop of the Kress building, one of the city's threatened downtown landmarks. Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said the demolition Monday of the former Gary Adult High School prompted her to call for a complete accounting of the city's endangered structures. "The tragic loss of the Gary school was a call to action," she said Wednesday. Saul-Sena wants the city immediately to assess all publicly and privately owned vacant structures designated as historically significant to see whether their roofs and openings are properly secured.
To do that, she wants to create an emergency stabilization fund for at-risk buildings and tougher measures to force private owners of the buildings to maintain their properties. "Action must be taken to secure and protect these structures," Saul-Sena said. The Kress building is one of several historic Tampa buildings that could go the way of the Gary school if steps aren't taken to preserve it, the councilwoman said. The building is on Franklin Street in downtown and is known as the Kress building because it used to house the S.H. Kress department store. Historical preservation officials welcomed Saul-Sena's proposal. "Of all the buildings we've looked at, it's the one that's of most concern to us," said Dennis Fernandez, the city's historical preservation manager. "It's on a downward spiral." Saul-Sena proposes using $100,000 in Community Redevelopment Agency money to fix the roof of the Kress building. The CRA board will discuss her proposal at its 9 a.m. meeting today in city hall.

Reporter Christian M. Wade can be reached at cwade@tampatrib.com or (813) 259-7679.

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