The opinions and viewpoints in this feature are solely those of this website's owner,
and not necessarily those of any other involved in the Save Fairyland campaign, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Save Fairyland! is a local effort initiated by Tampa Natives Show host
Mario Nuñez and joined by Rotary's Camp Florida Resource Development Director
Brenda Piniella Rouse, along with concerned Tampa natives, Tampa citizens--both former and present, and friends, to acquire, restore and relocate the beloved storybook character figures of Tampa's  Lowry Park Fairyland for public display.


F
ound in a City of Tampa storage lot behind a city garage by Mario Nuñez, the figures which captivated the imagination of visitors to Fairyland at Lowry Park since 1957, were removed from the Fairyland Walk at the Fun Forest in Lowry Park circa 1996 to 1999, had been left to the elements and were in rough shape.

Saving Fairyland  -  Page 1   Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5   Page 6   Page 7

Lowry Park/Fairyland History    Herman - King of the Zoo     Safety Village      Fantasia Golf

 


Lowry Park and Fairyland have long been a popular topic of discussion at the Tampa Natives page on Facebook.  In late January of 2017, the page had just over 10,000 fans, many of whom have fond memories of the original Fairyland, built in 1957 under the direction of Mayor Nick Nuccio.

If you're not familiar with Lowry Park and Fairyland, in order to understand "Why all the fuss" you are urged to first
see a history  of Lowry Park and Fairyland with photos, here at TampaPix

 


 

By the mid 1980s the zoo was in dire condition.  Thousands of people filed past the small cages, often too close for the animals’ safety. News clips from over the decades tell of razor blades being tossed into dilapidated cages, and arrows shot into the compounds. Sea lions collapsed from copper poisoning after eating pennies that had been tossed into their tank. A tiger died after someone gave it amphetamines and barbiturates. After several years of fundraising and the help and support of Mayor Bob Martinez and the city of Tampa, the zoo went private in 1986 and so the original Lowry Park Zoo with Fairyland closed with a ceremony on Monday, September 7, 1987 for its $20 million reconstruction.

 

 

The rejuvenated first phase of the revamped zoo opened on March 5, 1988 with a Free-Flight Aviary, Asian Domain, Primate World and a Children's Village/Petting Zoo. The old Fairyland was spruced up, along with the original rainbow bridge entrance (without the large pool), returning as the Fairyland walk at the "Fun Forest" entrance, with many of the original storybook character statues having been repaired and repainted.

More than 614,000 people visited the Zoo during its first 12 months. 

 


                    


By the late 1990s, Fairyland was in bad shape.  Much of that area of the park was closed off by then, and the chains around the attractions had been removed, making it easier for park guests to damage the figures even more. 

 

Fairyland and the Rainbow Bridge were removed to make way for the zoo's educational center ("Zoo School") and multipurpose facility.  The bridge was demolished, having been deemed by the city as "a safety hazard," and the Fairyland characters were removed; probably without much opposition, if any.

 

The zoo grew and attracted nationwide attention, but Fairyland faded away and was virtually unheard of by millennials and later zoo and park visitors.  The history of the old place had been swept under the rug.

 

However, for those of us who were kids in the late 1950s and the 1960s, Fairyland was like today's Disney, State Fair and Busch Gardens all rolled into one place--it was magical, and it was free. 

 

So Fairyland lived on in a place near and dear to thousands of Tampans' hearts.

Ralph Alday of Tampa's City Parks Dept. puts finishing touches on the newly refurbished Fairyland walk at Lowry Park, Sept. 1989.
Photo from Historic Images

 

Fast Forward to the 2010s

Not much thought was given to what happened to the Fairyland storybook figures until recent years.  At the Tampa Natives Facebook page, Tampans who had moved away many years earlier would sometimes post asking if Fairyland was still around, some asked "what happened to it?" Some commented they hoped it would be rebuilt.  The topic never failed to inspire many comments from fans who remembered the pre-1980s Fairyland. 

 

Tampa Natives Show host and Tampa Natives Facebook page admin Mario Nuñez had fond memories of Lowry Park and Fairyland, having spent his childhood growing up in the 1960s.  He found out about the location of the storybook character figures quite serendipitously in January of 2012.

I actually found out about the location of the figures from the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department while researching for my great grandmother's final resting place in Colon-Marti cemetery. While at the CTPRD office, it was a stroke of good fortune that I saw a large poster-size photograph of Rapunzel's Castle at Fairyland hanging on the wall of Katherine Walker-Hebert's office.  I expressed to Katherine, the department's South Team Supervisor II,  how much Fairyland meant to generations of Tampa native youth.

She closed the door to the office and whispered, "The city still has them."


 Tampa Natives Show host Mario Nuñez with the photo of Rapunzel's Castle,
at the City of Tampa Parks & Recreation Dept.
The Tampa native, the poster, and the place where it all started--serendipitously!
Photo by City of Tampa Recreation Dept. employee, April 2017..

Feb. 2012- Mario and his wife Sally went to see the figures.
                        The following photos were taken by Sally.

 

     This  video was taken on Mario's "Flip Cam."                                                     Photo by Sally Nuñez


Photo by Sally Nuñez


Photo by Sally Nuñez

Mario realized what a travesty it was for them to be discarded like this, unprotected, neglected and left to deteriorate. He knew thousands of Tampa Natives fans would feel the same way.

  

          

Photos by Sally Nuñez

          
Photos by Sally Nuñez

            

Photos by Sally Nuñez

During a conversation Mario had with friend Richard Gonzmart in early 2013, Mario mentioned having found  the Fairyland figures.  At that time, Richard was in the midst of construction of his Ulele Restaurant, but he  mentioned the idea of the figures being placed on the restaurant's property near the Riverwalk, if they could be obtained from the city. 

Richard is president of the Columbia Restaurant Group which owns such popular and successful restaurants as Ulele, Goody Goody, and of course, the "Gem of Spanish Restaurants," the Columbia on 7th Ave. in Ybor City (which has been owned and operated by his family since opening there as a cafe in 1905.)

Richard became extremely busy with Ulele Restaurant, then resurrecting the iconic Tampa Goody Goody restaurant and its construction in Hyde Park, and with airport board meetings.

 


Photos by Sally Nuñez

Photos by Sally Nuñez

                     

 

Photos by Sally Nuñez

 


Photos by Sally Nuñez

 

 

2015-Feb. 13 - Mario uploaded his video of the Fairyland figures to his personal Facebook page. 

 

 

There, it started a beehive of activity with conversation and reminiscing.


Later that same evening, Dan of TampaPix.com asked Mario if his video was on the Tampa Natives Show YouTube channel so he could embed it here at TampaPix, but got sidetracked with trying to obtain Sally's over 100 pictures from Mario. 

Dan is also co-admin of Tampa Natives on Facebook with Mario and his wife Sally, and page founder/admin Steve Cannella, 

The photos were too large and too many to email to Dan, and they discussed uploading them to Dropbox.  But they were on Sally's phone and she didn't have Dropbox. 

2015-Feb. 15 - Mario sent Dan a link to the photos using a transfer service "WeTransfer" to his AOL email but the link wouldn't work properly in AOL's browser, and the URL wasn't shown.

2015-Feb. 17 - Unable to download Sally's photos and Mario's video, he used Facebook's embedding feature to embed Mario's video here on the TampaPix Lowry Park history page.  Dan also posted a link on Tampa Natives to Mario's video.
 

Three months later they picked up on this topic again:


2015-Jun. 3 -
By way of message, Mario asked Dan if the Fairyland figures video was still on our Tampa Natives page. 

Mario: Can you repost it for us?  The city may be willing to give us a space to work on refurbishing them. 

DanI never had the actual video, I think I just shared a link to it from YouTube.  I'm searching my files now.

Mario: Ok, If I need to repost the video so we can share it again, let me know.

DanOk, I don't have it.  What I did was share a link to Tampa Natives from your video that you had on your personal page.  It would be good to have it in the Tampa Natives video collection.  Make sure  you  post it as "Tampa Natives" for better exposure.

Mario: Dan, see if you can find the video and share it.

Mario also tagged Dan in this public post:

 

 

 

2015-Jun. 4

Dan:  Ok, I found it, it's on your personal page.  I shared it again to the Tampa Natives timeline.  You can edit my post if you switch to posting as Tampa Natives.  I just put "Update coming soon..."

But Dan still couldn't download the actual video, and so the link to Mario's video worked its way down the timeline as other postings were made in the ensuing months.
 

Days turned into weeks and months, with both assuming the video had been uploaded, so not much momentum was generated to start an organized, united effort to put together a plan.  There was plenty of Facebook "talk" but no real action.  The figures remained the proverbial "pie in the sky."
 

   2016-Jun. 9 - It was a YEAR later that Dan & Mario picked up again on the Fairyland topic:

 

 

Through his media contacts and the Tampa Natives Show, Mario was able to get the story out of the junkyard and into the hearts of thousands of viewers. Lloyd Sowers of Fox 13 News in Tampa was tagged on Mario's video, and it got Lloyd's attention. Lloyd and Mario got together and planned for a feature on Fox 13. 
2016-June. 23 - Mario commented on his own video, tagging Lloyd Sowers with
"Lloyd Sowers, are we ready? Let's do this! It's a perfect time for it."

 


2016, July 12 -  Tampa Natives (Dan) uploaded Mario's video "Fairyland Storybook Character Figures."

Dan was finally able to download Mario's video and add it to Tampa Natives so it would be listed among the rest of the page's videos, and thus have more visibility and easier access by fans.

Within a few days, the video at Tampa Natives had over 5,000 views, with 9,400 views by Feb. 2017.

  

 

2016, July 13 - Mario commented on his video at Tampa Natives:
Lloyd Sowers, people would be excited to know about your upcoming piece on these iconic figures. Please share that information with us.

 

 

 

2016, July 13 - Lloyd Sowers responded to Mario's comment at Tampa Natives
Very interesting story. We shot video of the characters which are now outside a city garage near MacDill AFB. The city person in charge is suggesting they may be sent to a non-profit children's theatre in the Plant City area. No final decision had been made. We're still working on our story scheduled to air July 28 in the 10pm hour. People new to Tampa will get a little history lesson!

  

More of Sally's photos from their first visit to the city lot.


Photo by Sally Nuñez

    

Now it was time Cinderella was to be tapped by the magic wand.  At once, her dingy rags became a crown of gold, set with jewels, and her feet were shod with sparkling glass slippers.  Cinderella got into her golden coach, ready to go. But her godmother commanded her not to stay one moment past midnite...

Cinderella in Coach

 


Photos by Sally Nuñez
 

                             

Photos by Sally Nuñez

Photos by Sally Nuñez
 

Photos by Sally Nuñez

 

Photos by Sally Nuñez


Photos by Sally Nuñez
 
 

   

Photos by Sally Nuñez


Photos by Sally Nuñez
 

Photos by Sally Nuñez
 

Photos by Sally Nuñez

Photos by Sally Nuñez
 

Photos by Sally Nuñez

         

Photos by Sally Nuñez

Photos by Sally Nuñez

 

Photos by Sally Nuñez

Photos by Sally Nuñez

 

We are grateful beyond measure for Mario and Sally's efforts on this day for bringing our beloved Fairyland storybook character figures back into the limelight after years of neglect.

Place your cursor on the photo to see another one of Sally and the pumpkin.


END OF FEB. 2012 PHOTOS
 

 

 

 

2016-July 27 - Tampa Natives (Mario) shared Fox 13's Facebook page with comment:

"Watch FOX 13 News tonight at 10pm to catch Lloyd Sowers' feature on the Fairyland character statues at the City of Tampa's storage lot."

 

 


THE FIRST FOX 13 NEWS STORY

 

2016-July 28 Remember Fairyland? The decades-old characters have reappeared
-Lloyd Sowers reporting, Fox 13

 

 

Fox 13 News - Mark Wilson, Kelly Ring, Lloyd Sowers, Mario Nuñez, Robin Nigh - City Art Mgr.

 

 

Screen shots from the video

                                        

 

 

 

If you were a kid in Tampa 30 or 40 years ago, you remember Fairyland. It was full of life-sized storybook characters. For many kids, it was the main attraction at Lowry Park.
 

"We had Fairyland and it was available to us and free," says Tampa native Mario Nunez. "It was a magical place for us."
 

But, time passed and Fairyland lost its luster. The characters were taken down years ago, but now they've reappeared. They're outside a city garage near MacDill AFB. They were squirreled away by city workers years ago.

"They couldn't let them go. They were too special," says Robin Nigh, the city's art manager. "We've got Peter Pan**, The Three Little Pigs, Little Miss Muffet. And, we've got the tuffet somewhere," she laughed. Nigh is searching for someone who might restore and display the figures.  "I'd like to see these figures refurbished back to their original state and maybe left somewhere in the city limits."
 

Wherever they go, their surprising return will remind us of a simpler time when kids in Tampa found magic in Fairyland.

**There was no Peter Pan.

(From Fox 13 news)

 

Fox 13 photos courtesy of Lloyd Sowers


 

     

     

     

     

                

 

 

2016-July 28 - Tampa Natives (Mario) posted a link to the above Fox 13 story  
In case you missed it, here's the story produced by WTVT's Lloyd Sowers.

 
2016-July 31 -  Tampa Natives (Mario) commented about the Fox 13 News feature - 147,553 Views, 928 Shares, 206 Comments, 1.6 Thousand Reactions...... Wow! Tampa Natives really do remember! Who would like to help? Who is available to contribute to this effort? Private message us here at Tampa Natives... Let us know how to get in touch and we will reach out.
 

Fox 13 News video has 321 comments, 2,200 reactions,  160,000 shares, and over 151,000 views.

"I'm working with the City of Tampa currently, those of you who are interested in helping us, I'm gonna get back to you soon, I promise. Don't lose that edge, stay connected to the story, because we're gonna be doing something very very soon..."

Wow! Tampa Natives really do remember! Who would like to help? Who is available to contribute to this effort? Private message us here at Tampa Natives... Let us know how to get in touch and we will reach out.

 
 

2016-Sep. 10 Tampa Natives (Dan) created a Lowry Park/Fairyland album at Tampa Natives Facebook page to show all Fairyland/Lowry Park photos in one place. (As of Feb. 8, 2017, this album has 1,418 shares, 132 comments and 579 reactions.)

 

 

 

2016-Sep. 18 Tampa Natives shared the Tampa Natives Show Event "Remembering Lowry Park" on Tampa Natives Show

 

 

 

2016-Sep. 19 The Tampa Natives Show aired "Remembering Lowry Park" on Tampa Bay Arts & Education Network

 

 

 

2016-Sep. 27 Mario told TampaPix: "I had a couple of conversations with the mayor's Chief of Staff  in mid September that led me to believe he was going to, in his words, 'bring this in for a landing' by the following week. When I spoke with him next, the mayor came down with the hammer for good. Meaning, he told his Chief of Staff that the auction was going through and that was final. During this time I spoke with Kevin Frye and at first when he heard our desire to restore the figures, he too thought it was a great idea.  Both city employees were neutered in their ability to influence the outcome."

 

2016-Sep. 28 Tampa Natives fan Kimi Lau-Costanzo sent Tampa Natives a private message including the screen shot below of a response her friend Penny got around 2 to 3 weeks earlier from the city's website contact page. 

 

 

2016-Oct. 21 - Fox 13 News - Fairyland Characters to be sold at Auction - Lloyd Sowers

 

TAMPA (FOX 13) - Are they junk or valuable pieces of Tampa history? If plans go forward, the long lost characters of Fairyland will soon be sold to the highest bidder.

 

Lloyd Sowers: "Like a misplaced menagerie, they sit by a city garage, weathered by the years.  Some in disrepair..."

 

Robin Nigh, the city's public art director, calls them interesting, but not art.

Mario NunezOnce you saw the band shell, and the fountain, and the little kid, you knew what came next..

Sowers: It was a pre-Disney destination, in a decidedly different age...but they won't be here long, the city has decided they are surplus property, and will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Mario: They really don't have intrinsic value to anyone else, except to those of us who are from here.

Sowers: The fiberglass and cement fairytale statues, including the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, and Humpty Dumpty, are the survivors of the Fairyland attraction that was once part of Lowry Park. It was started in the late 1950s and dismantled in the 80s.

At the time, a city worker hid them away to save them. Last summer, they were discovered at a city garage. Now the city has decided to sell them as surplus property.

Fairyland was a magical place for generations of Tampa kids like Mario Nunez, who wants the planned auction of the characters stopped. "They really don't have any intrinsic value to anyone else but those of us who are from here," said Nunez, a retired airline worker and host of The Tampa Natives Show on local cable.

Linda Hope of the Sulphur Springs Action League said she has applied for a county grant to restore the figures and place them in Tower Park, but she city officials have not returned her calls.

The city's purchasing director, Gregory Spearman said he expects the Manheim Auction company to sell the statues at auction within the next several weeks. "It's my job to generate revenue for the city from these items that are auctioned," he said.

They were lost then found, but now the once-famous characters of Tampa's Fairyland face an uncertain future.

 

 
 

 

2016-Oct. 23 - Tampa Natives (Mario) shared link to the Oct. 21 Fox 13 story "Fairyland characters to be sold at auction," and vented frustration at the city's decision.

Tampeños... Tampa Natives.... Those who care about our history. I am at wit's end with this. I'm not sure what our next move must be. We are hopeful to prevail and save these Fairyland figures (we have a plan and resources), but we are getting no help from our Mayor and his staff.  Special Note: Listen carefully to when Linda Hurtado at the very end says, "The City's purchasing Dept. head says it's his JOB to sell them for as much as he can to help off-set Tax Payer burden."

 

2016-Oct. 23  - Tampa Natives (Mario) comments to Fox 13 feature sentiments concerning the city's decision to auction

This is so sad to see. I remember going to see these figures with members of my family growing up. I remember going up to the large books that related to every display and seeing the story in front of me as I would read each one.

Can't bear to hear that Gregory Spearman with Tampa Parks & Recreation said "It's my job to generate revenue for the city from these items that are [to be] auctioned."

Really Gregory Spearman? We have Linda Barnhart Hope of the Sulphur Springs Action League who has applied for a county grant to restore the figures and place them in Sulphur Spring's Tower Park and the City of Tampa Government doesn't have the decency to work with her or call her back, but rather have the gall to discard them via auction?

Whether it is this, or Bob Buckhorn & City administrators not sticking up for Tampa's historic neighborhoods & their residents by pushing back against the Florida Dept. of Transportation's Tampa Bay Expressway, or the City's decision to dump raw sewage into the Hillsborough River because the City continues to develop property without upgrading its infrastructure at the same time; it is repulsive as a 4th-generation resident of the City to see how its representatives recklessly disrespect its history, its sense of place & most importantly ITS CITIZENS.

This story really sums it all up. The CITIZENS of Tampa pay taxes to live in a City whose administrators would rather be Sellouts for a Greenback than Preserve its History, Culture, & Resources for Generations to come. Additionally, it is beyond the pale to know that its administrators would completely ignore those individuals that they are SUPPOSED TO WORK FOR & REPRESENT!

I really HOPE that when the City elects its NEXT MAYOR in a few years we get one with a
and a desire to preserve & defend Tampa's unique qualities from threats & NOT BE AFRAID to stick up for the THINGS THAT MATTER the MOST to ITS CITIZENS!

 

 

2016-Nov. 2 Tampa Natives (Mario) announced the event
Save Fairyland at City Hall
on Nov. 3, Friday at 9am

Details
We Need Your Help! Join in the fight to Save Fairyland....

Please make time to be present (you do not have to speak unless you wish to). We will offer comment to City Council during "Open Comments" to address the auctioning off of our History to the highest bidder. 

Time: 9:00am
Place: Tampa City Hall
Reason: Save our History
____________________________________________________

This request is brought to you by Co-Sponsors:
Linda Hope - Sal Ingrassia - Mario Núñez

2016-Nov. 3 - Mario made his first presentation to Tampa City Council. Yolie Capin asked Mario a couple of questions and seemed interested in learning more.  She said she didn't know anything about the situation.  Mario met with her, Guido Maniscalco and Frank Reddick. 

 

2016-Nov. 9 - Tampa Natives (Mario) posted that Paul Guzzo is looking for info and pics on Fairyland

Paul Guzzo is writing about Fairyland and he needs to hear from those who remember the Lowry Park attraction. Please send him a message here on Facebook.

 

 

2016, Nov. 9 - Paul Guzzo,  Paul Guzzo, reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, had also been made aware of Mario's discovery.  He began to research Fairyland and gather facts and photos for a story in the newspaper. 

"Any Tampa people remember Fairyland at Lowry Park? If so contact me."

 

 

2016-Nov. 10 - Mario R. Núñez commented on Paul's post, tagging City Council member Yolie Capin - "Please read these comments about Fairyland."

 

 

 

  2016-Nov. 20 -  Fairyland figures revisited with Paul Guzzo of the Tampa Bay Times - Photos by Sally Nuñez


 


Mario giving Mr. Dumpty directions to the nearest emergency room.

 

 

2016-11-16 Figurines from former Fairyland in Tampa may return to public
- by Paul Guzzo, Tampa Bay Times

The Three Little Pigs’ brick house from Fairyland is long gone. The other two structures survived. Times (1958)

TAMPA — These fairy tale princesses have seen better days. Stored behind a city warehouse near MacDill Air Force Base, Snow White's face is melting. Sleeping Beauty's has caved in. These life-sized figures made of fiberglass and concrete now seem more suitable for a horror movie than a tourist attraction. But Mario Nunez excitedly dances from one to the next, envisioning the statues as they looked when he was a kid, not as they do decades after being discarded. "They're beautiful. Imagine her eyes a pristine blue," Nunez, 58, said of Snow White. "They just jumped out at you."

     The statues were once part of Fairyland, a 15-acre North Tampa park with a winding walking path that took visitors on a journey through storybooks. The characters that children met at the park, which shared space with Lowry Park Zoo, included Peter Pan, Three Men in a Tub and Peter Rabbit. Fairyland was razed in the late 1980s** and the figures have since sat in or outside a warehouse, crumbling from age and the elements.

     Now the city plans on auctioning them off in mid January. Nunez is not happy about it. He thinks the characters should be refurbished and placed somewhere to once again be enjoyed by children. There is no guarantee the winning bidder will share his vision. So he wants the city to give the statues to him to ensure a happy ever-after. "This is part of our history," he said. "It should not be for sale." He wants the statues in a public park or perhaps in different locations throughout the city. "It could be a scavenger hunt," said Nunez, 58. "Find the characters."

     This is not his only effort to salvage a piece of the city's history. Nunez also is on the hunt for the large, hand-painted illustration of Al Lopez that once adorned the West Tampa stadium named in honor of the baseball Hall of Famer. When the stadium was torn down in 1989, the sign had already been removed. Nunez has reached out to viewers of The Tampa Natives Show, which he hosts on a local cable network, to help find the illustration. He also asked them to help him acquire the Fairyland figures.

A young man tries to out-huff-and-puff the Big Bad Wolf.
Times (1958)

 


The response has been tremendous, Nunez said. "Everybody is in place and ready to go."

     His team includes Brenda Piniella Rouse, a resource development director for the Rotary's Camp Florida, which helps people with special needs. She is helping Nunez start and then manage a non-profit to finance the restoration and storage of the characters until a permanent home can be found. "Why would they be auctioned?" Piniella Rouse said. "What are they worth? How much will the city get? They are like that ratty teddy bear that is missing an eye and has a torn paw that no one wants unless it is their own. The only value they have is sentimental. So give them the right home.

     Also helping is Linda Hope, 73, a local historian and owner of the weekly Penny Saver newspaper. She will seek needed funds and local artists willing to help. "I used to take my kids to Fairyland," she said. "They had a rainbow bridge you walked over to get to a playground. Kids felt like they were walking into another world."

     City Council member Yvonne Capin wants to give the group a chance. Cancel the auction, she says, and hand over the fairy tale characters. "Why not?" she asks. "I've seen the city give away a lot more." As a child, Capin used to go to Fairyland Park. Years later, as a mother, she took her daughter there. "A lot of people may think it was cheesy," Capin said. "To us, it was magical." Fairyland was built in the 1950s as a free complement to Lowry Park Zoo.
 

    "This was our Disney World," Nunez said. "This was our place.  I thought the characters were gone," Nunez said. When he looks now at the storybook characters tossed haphazardly behind the warehouse, he can't help but chuckle. Only two of the homes built by the Three Little Pigs have survived the elements. Ironically, it's the brick one that is long gone. And in the far corner lies Humpty Dumpty, flat on his back. "He fell off that wall," said Nunez said. "But we're going to put him back together again."

Paul Guzzo at pguzzo@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3394. Follow @PGuzzoTimes.
 

 

 

2016-Nov. 17 -  Tampa Natives (Mario) posted a link to Paul Guzzo's article, writing, "Please Read, Comment & SHARE! Let's get 1000 SHARES.... Please help!"


 

Many other fans of Tampa Natives used various means to contact the city to voice their concerns. Some used the city's website, through its "Contact Us" page.

 Cheryl DeLong:
As you all are aware there is a group of Tampa natives who would like the opportunity to refurbish them and place them on public display. Since it isn't feasible to put them back at Lowry Park why not place them at the new proposed park at the Water Tower. It is my understanding that a botanical garden is planned there so why not place them in that garden along with benches and swings and little free libraries dotting the path where future leaders, dreamers and peacemakers can dream a little dream of their own inspired by fairy tales and other inspirational people. Please consider my proposal as I think it could work for all of us. Thank you Cheryl DeLong

  Ben Crumpton:
I am deeply disappointed in your recent decision to auction off the historic Fairyland figures from the old Lowry Park. These are historical treasures, and nearly anyone who grew up in Tampa during the 60s-90s holds fond memories of these figures. I can't tell you how many times I visited Lowry Park as a child, and spent hour upon hour enjoying the storybook figures there. These relics of Tampa's past should be PRESERVED and put back on display for THE PUBLIC to enjoy and admire, for generations to come, not to be auctioned off for a few measly bucks (that would barely amount to even a single drop in the bucket of the budget of a city like Tampa) so that some wealthy individual can keep them selfishly all to themselves. THEY BELONG TO THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF TAMPA! There is a ready group of volunteers willing to put in whatever work and TLC are required to bring these figures back to life. Don't leave a legacy for yourself of having sold out the historical treasures of your city! You could engender so much good will for yourself if you would reverse your course and give these treasures back to the PEOPLE of Tampa, where they rightfully belong. Please reconsider.

This is the response Ben received:

Good Morning Mr. Crompton,
Please see attached information related to your earlier customer service post to the City today. Sincerely, Gregory K. Spearman, CPPO, FCCM
Purchasing Director City of Tampa
306 E. Jackson Street Tampa, FL 33602
P: 813-274-8855 F: 813-274-8355 Gregory.Spearman@Tampagov.net

It included a JPG image of the auction brochure plus the following Word file:

9.0 SALE OF CITY PROPERTY
9.1 POLICY STATEMENT
The Purchasing Department is responsible for the disposal of surplus or obsolete tangible City property. Interdepartmental transfers of equipment and removal of property from the inventory due to loss or theft are processed by the Accounting Division of the Department of Revenue and Finance. The Purchasing Department will attempt to secure the highest prices possible for surplus property and scrap materials most frequently through bidding or auction. Under certain conditions, the most practical and cost beneficial method for disposal of assets may be as a trade-in on replacement items. Such application is the joint responsibility of the requesting department and the Purchasing Department. Prior to the sale or trade of an asset, a Request for Disposition of City Property form (FIN 12) must be processed by the Department of Revenue and Finance. Sales tax must be collected from the buyer of the property except where such sale is specifically exempt from sales taxes under Florida law. In the event of a tax exemption, a copy of a valid tax exemption certificate or other applicable tax exemption documentation must be retained in the Bid file. Contact the Purchasing Department for additional information. Contact the Accounting Division of the Department of Revenue and Finance for procedures and forms.

 Barb Gibson Mallalieu:
Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Fairyland was Mayor Nuccio's and the City's (Tampa) GIFT to the children of Tampa. Therefore, it is NOT the City of Tampa's property to auction off. Please stop this auction! This was my Disney growing up. It is and always will be a part of mine and thousands of others, childhoods. We are in tears over your decision to sell our property. Please show us how much you actually care for us as YOUR PEOPLE, by returning all Fairyland figures to THE PEOPLE. It was OUR gift. Not yours.

Response:

Good Morning Ms. Mallalieu.
The City is simply following its policy for the disposal of surplus property which is attached. If the City sets a precedent of donating property, we would receive multiple requests to make donations for all sorts of things and that would not be in the best interest of the public or the City. We would encounter all sorts of issues such as who to make donations to which would then raise the question of fairness. An auction is fair and reasonable and is open to everyone who has an interest in acquiring surplus City property, even to individuals or groups who may be interested in acquiring and restoring the Fairyland Figurines.
Sincerely,
Gregory K. Spearman, CPPO, FCCM - Purchasing Director

(Notice in Paul Guzzo's article, City Council member Capin said, "Cancel the auction and hand over the fairy tale characters. Why not? I've seen the city give away a lot more.")

 

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