The Tampa Museum of Art is set to receive an extra $10 million in public funding to support its expansion along the riverfront.
On Thursday, the Tampa City Council, acting as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) board, approved the supplementary allocation. With this decision, the downtown CRA’s total contribution to the museum’s expansion reaches $24.75 million over a decade.
Community Redevelopment Agencies are designated state areas that utilize all newly generated or incremental tax funds within their boundaries for future development purposes.
Due to inflation affecting labor and material costs, the overall expense for the museum’s expansion has risen by $30 million, now totaling $110 million. In 2021, the CRA greenlit $14.75 million over five years for the project. The CRA’s financial support will go towards elements of the project accessible to the public, including “outdoor sculpture plazas, elevator access connecting the southwest corner of the fourth and fifth floors of Poe Parking Garage to Gasparilla Plaza, aiming to enhance connectivity and integration with Curtis Hixon Park,” as outlined in city documents.
The majority of council members expressed enthusiasm for the project and supported the request for additional funding.
“We’re reinvesting in something that is already ours — a city asset,” Guido Maniscalco said. “Some people will criticize the arts, but we have to look at the economic impact.”
Maniscalco, along with fellow council members Gwen Henderson, Lynn Hurtak, Alan Clendenin, and Charlie Miranda, supported the additional funding. However, Councilmember Luis Viera opposed the increase. Councilmember Bill Carlson abstained from voting, citing a conflict of interest.
Viera mentioned concerns about the possible limitation of the Downtown CRA as a reason for not endorsing the additional funding request. He highlighted other impending funding requirements, including the extension of the Tampa Electric Co. streetcar line, the restoration of the Jackson House, and the city’s persisting affordable housing challenges.
“We need to address many issues before allocating additional funds to the museum expansion,” Viera stated.