City to explore options on Occupy Tampa's future

5:54 PM, Jul 19, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- The future of Occupy Tampa took center stage at City Hall on Thursday, with council members voting to explore their options for what to do with the movement.

Since January, Occupy Tampa has called Victory of Freedom Park in West Tampa its home. It's a privately-owned park, but a growing number of neighbors are complaining.

"I don't see any way they can make it look good.  It's a park.  It's not a tent city," said Mike Vannetta, with the West Tampa Neighborhood Association.

But Occupiers say they have every right to be there.

"I would hope that the city would be a little bit better about respecting First Amendment rights," said Nathan Schwartz, "we know that the city doesn't like us."

At Thursday's meeting Tampa police told council the number of calls to the area have more than doubled since Occupy moved in.

"This is not good for a community," said council member Frank Reddick, "This is bad for West Tampa."

The council voted to ask everyone from code and law enforcement to the city attorney's office to research what, if anything, can be done because the park is on private land.

Council is expected to revisit the issue on August 16.

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