Temple Terrace wants to rebuild 'bat tower' - WFLA News Channel 8

Temple Terrace wants to rebuild 'bat tower'

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Location for the proposed bat tower, along the Hillsborough River Location for the proposed bat tower, along the Hillsborough River
TEMPLE TERRACE, FL (WFLA) -

The city of Temple Terrace is working on a plan to rebuild a historic bat tower.

It was originally designed by Dr. Charles Campbell in the 1920's, and sat along the Hillsborough River for 65 years, until arsonists burned it down in 1979.

"It was a cultural landmark and an icon," said Tim Lancaster, president of the Temple Terrace Preservation Society.

Campbell built 14 of the bat towers around the world, and seven of them were in Italy. Only three are still standing today, one of them is on Sugar Loaf Key in South Florida.

"His idea was that the bats would eat mosquitoes that cause malaria and he was working to eradicate malaria," Lancaster explained.

But the plan hasn't sat well with everyone in Temple Terrace. Those who live near the original site have voiced concern with having so many bats as neighbors. The bat tower is estimated to be able to house between 100,000 and 200,000 bats.

So, supporters enlisted the help of experts from the University of Florida to dispel some of the myths.

"Bats in general have this super natural mystery about them and a lot of people don't know much about them," said city councilman Grant Rimbey.

The city council has identified three new sites that have potential for the bat tower. One is at Scout Park, another at Rotary Park and a third at Riverhills Park. Rimbey supports the Riverhills site.

"We would have rather had it in a little bit more visible of a location, rather than over here by the tennis court, but we think this is a good compromise," he said.

 

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