© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Notre Dame Fire Prompts Look At Tampa Bay Area Preservation

The devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris may have people taking a closer look at iconic structures in the Tampa Bay area.

There are many local beautiful and historic buildings, like the Don Cesar and The Vinoy hotels in St. Pete Beach and St. Petersburg, the Sarasota Opera House, the Tampa Theatre, the Plant Museum on the University of Tampa campus and the Palace of Florence apartments on Tampa's Davis Islands.

Ed Lewis, construction project manager for the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, said these buildings are most at risk from fire and flooding.

He said he'd like to think that the custodians of buildings such as The Vinoy or Don Cesar or Plant Museum have fully operational fire detection systems and sprinkler systems. He'd also like to know that building stewards monitor for things like carbon dioxide. 

Lewis said older buildings in the U.S. are different from many in Europe in that they "are a little bit more robust because they're a little bit more modern."

But what's the same is the sense of loss that people might feel if, say, The Vinoy or the Tampa Theatre were to be destroyed.

"I think that's what's sad about Notre Dame," said Lewis, "is there's going to be people now who will never be able to visit that church and see it as it was in their lifetime, because it may well take years before it's restored, or remodernized. So there's a sense of loss there. And I think it's the same with our buildings."

Lewis cited structures such as the Snell Arcade in St. Pete and said familiarity fosters appreciation.

"I think there's the emotional attachment of something that you've got used to seeing, something you appreciate, something that you have in a connection with because you walk past it every day," he said.

Almost every day, I come before the microphone with the same enthusiasm as the Dani Rojas character in the “Ted Lasso” television series. I do 100 pushups, take some laps around the house, thank my supervisors and audience for giving me the opportunity to do what I love, bellow “Radio is liiiife” from the back steps, and bound back to my garret and get to work.
WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.