Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tampa To Review Deals With Nonprofits

The city council of Tampa, Fl. has called for a review of contracts with the city's nonprofits to determine how many are falling short of their obligations.

The review was ordered after Councilwoman Lisa Montelione discovered that the Steward's Foundation had fallen short of the terms of the 25-year lease it originally signed with Tampa in 2003, according to a report on  Tampa Bay Online. In exchange for paying $1 a year to use 3 acres in Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, the organization was to teach rowing to high school students, host competitions, and provide a training area for out-of-state college teams.

That end of the bargain was fulfilled, but the Foundation still has not built the $2 million boathouse the city ordered it to construct after a 2007 renewal of the lease. A temporary structure for the boathouse exists, but the lack of permanent structure lead to the Foundation defaulting on its agreement with the city.

The Council voted 5-2 to send out a formal default notice to the organization, which gives it 60 days to correct the problem or face eviction. Mayor Bob Buckhorn has so far decided to let Steward's continue its work in Riverfront Park while the city works out its future.

Steward's Foundation president Tom Feaster told Tampa Bay Online that the reason the boathouse has not yet been constructed is because the organization has been unable to find donors for the project, due to uncertainty about the city's plans for the park.

According to public tax filings, the Foundation spent about $100,000 on its rowing programs in 2010. Feaster has maintained that other than the issue with the boathouse, his organization is fulfilling its mission, putting over 250 students a day on the Hillsbourough River to learn teamwork and improve their fitness.

Montelione will begin reviewing the agreements with the other city's nonprofits, and suggested to the Council that they may have to end support for them if they are unable to meet their obligations.

You can read the full story on Tampa Bay Online's website.

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