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Tampa Council members opine on Curtis Hixon Park bar/restaurant concept

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

News of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn‘s choice of Four Green Fields for a new restaurant/bar in Curtis Hixon Park caused some consternation on social media Wednesday.

But what do City Council members think?

Although the Council is now on a two-week summer hiatus, FloridaPolitics.com caught up with two members having opposing opinions about the administration’s choice of Irish pub Four Green Fields for a “raw bar” concept that includes indoor and outdoor seating in a pavilion space along Twiggs Street.

Four Green Fields beat out six other competitors in the city’s request for proposal sent out in May.

“It gives another option to the folks downtown and Curtis Hixon,” says Councilman Guido Maniscalco, who supports the selection.

The West Tampa council member says he actually walks along Riverwalk nearly every day, often hearing from citizens about the need for more dining options or a place to get a drink.

“You go to downtown St. Pete on Beach Drive, and it’s just one option after another,” he marvels.”I welcome it, and I look forward to more things to come.”

Councilwoman Yolie Capin is not as supportive.

“I have nothing against Four Green Fields,” she says, adding that if it’s anything like their location on West Platt Street, “It’s not the class (of establishment) that I’d like to see at Curtis Hixon, next to our Museum of Art, Children’s Museum, and the Riverwalk.”

“It’s kind of shabby, that place,” she says. “I guess it’s supposed to be shabby Irish chic?”

Capin acknowledged that she didn’t know about the other six entries responding to the RFP, but when she was told that Columbia owner Richard Gonzmart‘s proposal came up short, Capin said she wished he would have won the bid.

“That to me is a seasoned restaurateur who knows what he’s doing and has been an asset to the city,” she said.

Gonzmart already has a strong presence on the Riverwalk, as his Ulele restaurant anchors the northwest end, while his Columbia Cafe sits inside the Tampa Bay History Museum, on the eastern side.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Danielson reported Friday that Four Green Fields rent offer was prohibitively larger than the next two highest bidders.

“The return to us was significantly higher than the second-best proposal,” Buckhorn told the Times. “It was a fairly easy decision, and the numbers spoke for themselves.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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