City makes waves with proposal to remove rowers' graffiti - FOX 13 News

City makes waves with proposal to remove rowers' graffiti

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

For more than 30 years, college rowing teams have tagged their school colors and logos on the seawall along the Hillsborough River downtown.

It could all be gone in 30 days.

City leaders propose getting rid of the graffiti to make way for a segment of the Tampa Riverwalk.

"We're spending lots of tax dollars to improve our waterfront,” said Bob McDonaugh, Economic Opportunity Administrator for the City of Tampa. "This one section, when you're walking along the riverfront, you're going to be adjacent to this wall. So we would like it to be as attractive as possible."

In the plan, the seawall would be wiped clean to make way for new art, including an intricate underwater light display that changes colors with each step along the riverwalk.

"The idea was that we did not want to have that really shabby looking wall to distract from the art installation," McDonaugh said.

Getting rid of the rowing team tags does not sit well with many competitive rowers, especially some high school students who aspire to one day race on the collegiate level.

"Every time we row by, we know we could be there some day and put our paintings up," Sam O'Brien said.

He's been waiting on that day since he starting rowing four years ago as a high school freshman. O'Brien calls it tradition and couldn't image the river with the paintings.

"It gives the river character for us because we see colleges that have been rowing here," O'Brien said.

"There still will be hundreds if not thousands of feet of sea wall that still has decorations from visiting crew teams and alike in place. This is a section that's maybe 300 feet long," McDonaugh.

The mayor's office asked the city council to consider removing the graffiti. The council is scheduled to vote Thursday.

 

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