Tampa Community Centers to Become More Accessible
- May 19, 2011
The former Brandon Community Advantage Center, reopened this January after a five-year, multimillion-dollar transformation process, has been the subject of much debate in past weeks. The Regent Community Center, as it has been renamed, has been used mainly for lavish private events, which has upset the taxpayers that made its re-opening possible.
The matter was brought to the attention of the board of directors of the nonprofit that oversees the structure when they received a letter of complaint from State Rep. Rachel Burgin. According to The Tampa Tribune, Burgin said that “the Regent was supposed to be a community center but it’s being run more like a country club.” The board came up with solutions, creating a six-step plan, including reaching out to local artists to have their work displayed in the building, planning quarterly meetings for the public and revising the Regent’s website for more transparency. Moreover, a task force of local community leaders will be created in order to provide input on programming and outreach.
The Regent aims to be the area’s main destination for grand dinners and galas, with its 10,000-square-foot ballroom and 3,400-square-foot meeting space. It also includes several Hillsborough Community College classrooms.
Other galas are planned for the West Tampa Free Public Library, as it approaches its 100th anniversary. A Library History Roadshow is on a three-year journey to collect oral histories, memories, artifacts and photographs from past and current users. While the first day-long event, sponsored by the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System, was a success, the second one will be held June 4, starting at 10 a.m.
The Library dates back to 1914, when philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated it to the city and to all immigrants who sought the American Dream. The West Tampa Free Public Library at Howard Avenue and Union Street is the oldest of Hillsborough’s 25 operating libraries and a distinguished asset for the city.