Future of Tampa 'Bro Bowl' still uncertain - WFLA News Channel 8

Future of Tampa 'Bro Bowl' still uncertain

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Tampa "Bro Bowl" Tampa "Bro Bowl"
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

As historic places go, Tampa "Bro Bowl" isn't that old. It was conceived in 1975 and first opened for skaters in 1978. The concrete structure is a free skate park where anyone with a skate board can slide down a hill, over humps and up a sloped edge at their own risk.

It is now also on the National Historical Register. Shannon Bruffett fought for three years to put it there.

Bruffett says the "Bro Bowl" is one of the few remaining parks of its kind from the 70s era. The skate park is part of Perry Harvey Sr. Park in Tampa and is adjacent to the federally funded Encore redevelopment district.

"Bro Bowl is the first free, ride at your own risk public skate park in the state of Florida." said Bruffett.

The city has plans to redevelop Perry Harvey Sr. Park and city officials want to bulldoze the aging skate park and put in a new structure for skaters, as part of the area make-over.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says, "There is nothing historic or significant about it, except in the mind of that very small population of skateboarders who have skated there for years."

Buckhorn says the old structure just doesn't fit into the new plan.

"As it exists right now, the current configuration of the bowl is not going to stay.", said Buckhorn.

Shannon Bruffett thinks that would be a mistake.

The Encore development is themed around celebrating Tampa's black history with a music connection. Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Duke Ellington stayed in the area during the segregation era and Tampa officials want to acknowledge their heritage there.

Bruffett says, "I think we should celebrate all of Tampa's history."

Bruffett believes the "Bro Bowl" is part of that, and he wants to see it remain in the park redevelopment plan.

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