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A Letter to the Editor says it all

Dear Editor,

Why is it taking a man, who loves Tampa and its history, to come in and try to save the day when the City should not be putting these Fairyland statues on the auction block in the first place?

I only wish your reporter had dug a bit deeper into this story to reveal how the City of Tampa advertised these statues as “Historical” and “a Tampa Landmark for 50 years”, yet did not let the Historic Preservation Board have any say in the matter. Or how the procurement department would not release any information under a public records request until the City attorney was asked to check into the matter?

Yes, the figurines are old and need work, but they represent a significant time of civic growth in Tampa lead by Mayor Nick Nuccio. Tampa was coming out of the darkness of war in the late 50’s and we had a Mayor who knew that public spaces were important to growth. These figurines were part a free attraction that was enjoyed by all the residents of this town, including the working class, the backbone of Tampa, which was my family.

The City of Tampa has let far too many historical landmarks (buildings, sites, objects) be torn down or disposed of. It is time to put more teeth in Historical Preservation City Code Section 27. The current Mayor thinks these figurines are junk and does not want them near his $35 million Riverfront Park, but I guarantee you, children will love them, tourists will look for them, and families will visit wherever they end up. They need to taken off the auction block.

Anneliese Meier
Tampa, Florida

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About the funds collected…

When the sale of the Fairyland figures was formally announced by the City of Tampa on December 23, we (myself and members of The Tampa Natives Show who had been working on saving the figures for several months now) were “blindsided,” and we had not yet set up a corporation. Because of the short time we had to organize to make the purchase, we established a Go Fund Me account. Since I initiated the account, it carries my name. However, let me be clear, the collected funds belong to this project.

The City of Tampa has set the game – we intend to WIN!

We have learned some things since December 23rd: We now KNOW the Fairyland figures will be auctioned in 12 lots on January 14th, we do not need special credentials to bid, we do need to have cash, and we’ll have to move them off the City lot pretty quickly. (We HAVE secured a safe, DONATED, indoor storage facility to keep them safe and dry while we work on the restorations!)

We do NOT know for certain how much cash we will need to purchase them all, because it is an auction. We also do not know who else might be interested in buying them. Understand, we plan to win all of them!

That being said, there are still some “IFs” I want to go over:

If there are funds remaining after the sale, they will be used to establish a non-profit to continue soliciting for tax-deductible funds, supplies, and services to refurbish them and then find appropriate public placement. Filing for tax-exempt status takes money – the State-required corporate filing fees, and the application fees to the IRS total over $500. We will be very transparent about all this. ALL of the money collected after paying for the figures and these fees will be turned over to the non-profit.

If all the money collected so far is used to purchase them, we will have to find a benefactor(s) to advance us the funds to set up the not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization to move forward with the project.

If the sale is stopped by the City, for any reason, and there is a chance that if we organize a non-profit to receive them and take over their care, we will do that with all the funds. Any remaining funds after paying fees will go to the non-profit to provide a bit of seed money to pay for things like moving and start the refurbishing.

Lastly, if another private buyer comes in and swoops them all away from us, and it turns out we have no future involvement with the Fairyland figures, I will refund your gift, minus the small fee charged to me by Go Fund Me.

Should you have any questions about this process, please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Brenda Piniella Rouse
Fairyland Restoration Project Committee

savefairyland@gmail.com

Looking for a “happily-ever-after!”

Today, after much calling and waiting, and hearing answers we do not particularly like, it is confirmed without a doubt that the City of Tampa will sell the Fairyland figurines in an auction. It will not be undone. On January 14th they are going to sell our history to the highest bidder.

WE ARE DETERMINED MORE THAN EVER THAT THE HIGHEST BIDDER WILL BE US!

We will refurbish and relocate them in our community for children (and some of us boomers!) to enjoy. THAT WAS THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE. THAT IS NOW OUR MISSION!

Join us! Get your friends to join too! Share this post! We’re working on a “happily-ever-after!”

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