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Tuesday, Oct 17, 2017
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Ybor Setima Avenue signs could be auctioned

TAMPA - Anybody want to buy a misspelled street sign? "La Setima," the colloquial but misspelled name of Ybor City's main street, is on the chopping block. Tampa City Council members will vote Thursday on whether to replace the signs with the correctly spelled Spanish name, "La Séptima." When that Seventh Avenue issue comes up, council members also will vote whether to authorize selling the misspelled signs to the highest bidders. The auction would be designed to offset the cost of replacement signs — a cost not to exceed $2,500. Among the potential bidders: Councilman Charlie Miranda, who opposes the name change.
"I would more than likely be a bidder if I'm allowed by law," he said. "I don't care what the sign costs — I'm going to bid on it. I would hang it in my room to realize a misspelled word is not really misspelled." Miranda, who first suggested having such an auction, maintains the existing street name is part of Ybor's vibrant history. He said people likely will pay a couple hundred dollars each to own a piece of nostalgia. "I don't think anybody who bids on them is ever going to sell them," Miranda said. At a prior meeting, officials said 10 signs could be replaced for roughly $172 each. Spanish-speaking visitors for years have questioned the spelling of Seventh Avenue on signs in Ybor. Some say "La Setima" became a moniker for the avenue early in the 20th century when immigrants from Cuba, Italy and Spain came to the community east of downtown Tampa to work in its cigar factories. Several Ybor residents pushed for a name change, maintaining that the so-called colloquial name would cause confusion and even embarrassment when thousands of people come in late August for the Republican National Convention. Last month, the city's Community Redevelopment Agency voted in favor of changing the thoroughfare's name to its correct spelling. The agency is composed of city council members and focuses on development in special tax districts. Councilman Frank Reddick told The Tampa Tribune on Tuesday that he wouldn't bid on the misspelled signs. He said he has concerns about the auction, such as what the misspelled signs would be used for and whether they would be placed elsewhere in Ybor. Fellow Councilman Harry Cohen, however, might be interested in the auction. "I'm not interested in breaking the bank," Cohen said. "I might be interested in hanging it in my city hall office or at home or something like that."

jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691

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