Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Top priority for Mayor Mel Jurado: Sell city's redevelopment property

Mel Jurado received double the votes of her opponents.

Courtesy of Mel Jurado

Mel Jurado received double the votes of her opponents.

TEMPLE TERRACE — As Mel Jurado takes up the gavel as mayor, she joins a City Council determined to get construction started on city-owned downtown redevelopment property even if it isn't the Downtown Temple Terrace people once envisioned.

The council has received several offers from developers after a search by its real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield, and Jurado has said the city needs to pick the best of them and get them built.

That's because a $23.5 million loan — money the city borrowed more than a decade ago to buy and improve the property — must be paid off or refinanced by next April.

"I'm honored and humbled and ready to get busy,'' Jurado said after her victory in Tuesday's special election to fill the term of Kim Leinbach, who resigned in May because of a family illness and to take a job as interim city manager of Plant City.

Jurado, a 54-year-old industrial psychologist, received double the total votes of both the other candidates — accountant David Ganessingh and former social worker Linda Ormsbee.

Jurado is scheduled to be sworn into office at the City Council meeting on Nov. 7, City Clerk Cheryl Mooney said.

The job is heavy on public relations, light on power and largely voluntary. It pays $239.18 per month with a $100 monthly travel allowance.

Jurado will act as the face of the city in appearances around the Tampa Bay area and the state, promoting it as a great place in which to live and do business. She will conduct City Council meetings but can't vote except to break a tie.

She is free to use the "bully pulpit'' to promote her positions.

While moving forward on the redevelopment land is the top priority, Jurado's next two goals are the creation of an economic development council and straightening out the budget so the city's financial picture is clear to its residents.

The council has called for an independent audit after encountering a number of errors in the preliminary budgets they reviewed in past the two months.

During her campaign, Jurado stressed the need for an aggressive city economic development council, made up of business leaders in the community and city staffers, to target desirable companies and go after them.

"Amazon is looking for more property,'' she said. "I don't know if any of us has reached out to them.''

As for the downtown redevelopment district, the city is trying to sell 22 acres along the east side of 56th Street from Bullard Parkway to the Hillsborough River.

In years past, the idea was to build the downtown that Temple Terrace never had — pedestrian-friendly enclave of shops, restaurants, offices and residences along the lines of Dunedin or downtown St. Petersburg.

What the market will bear, however, are banks, restaurants, and a retail strip center with single-story shops separate from three-story walk-up multi-family apartments, according to the offers Cushman & Wakefield received.

Real estate agent Patrick Berman has been negotiating with the companies making the best offers and is expected to address the council during a meeting Tuesday.

"We need action,'' Jurado said at a recent candidates' forum. "We cannot afford a $23 million park. We cannot.''

Contact Philip Morgan @pmorgan@tampabay.com

Top priority for Mayor Mel Jurado: Sell city's redevelopment property 10/13/17 [Last modified: Monday, October 16, 2017 11:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    Take a second and try to think of a few of the world's biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you'll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).

  2. Local craft beer of the week: Big Storm's Lightning Twenty Five Craft Lager

    Bars & Spirits

    The Tampa Bay Lightning is off to its best start in franchise history, racking up NHL highs in wins and points in their 25th anniversary season.

    That calls for a toast.

  3. Social worker fired from Bay Pines calls it retaliation for complaints of harassment

    Veterans

    Chalea Weekes fumes each time she sees another entertainer, politician or public figure stand accused of sexual harassment.

  4. Tampa chamber of commerce evolves to take on more policy challenges

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — A couple of the ways the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has changed — evolved, really — will be on view today at the organization's 132nd annual meeting at the Tampa Convention Center.

  5. Review: Kevin Young gives readers the truth about 'Bunk'

    Books

    We live in the age of the hoax.

    Believe me.

    And if you don't believe me, believe Kevin Young, author of the sometimes disturbing but always fascinating new book Bunk: The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News.