New Vision

bro bowl Patrick Sullivan


As part of the original Perry Harvey Sr. Park, the regional history, and the nation's cultural history, the Bro Bowl should remain and be preserved for current and future generations. Preservation of the Bro Bowl can easily be accommodated into the redevelopment plans for Perry Harvey Sr. Park without affecting the current design nor affecting the honoring of the African-American history that the area shares. Everyone agrees how important and vital the Afircan-Ameican history of this quarter is and that it's time for the City of Tampa to make amends for its record of the past. Claims by the City of Tampa that the preservation of this multi-cultural skateboarding heritage site will destroy years of planning and flush hundreds of thousands of dollars down the drain are extremely exaggerated and unfounded. A simple examination of the maps below clearly shows the small footprint of the Bro Bowl and how it does not interfere with any of the redevelopment plans to celebrate the African-American history of the area. As part of the original Perry Harvey Sr. Park, it is also part of the Central Avenue history. In fact, Perry Harvey Sr. Park and the "skateboard rink" that became known as the Bro Bowl was the result of the 1967 riots that followed the questionable shooting death of 19-year-old Martin Chambers by the police. 
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Red circle indicates location of the Bro Bowl from a Google Earth image (left) and the city redevelopment plan (right). Graphic is from "The Bro Bowl is a Preservation First in Tampa!," courtesy of TAMPANIA, a Tampa history and development blog.


TOP OF PAGE: Rendering by architect Patrick A. Sullivan, on how the Bowl could be aesthetically integrated into the new plans for the park.

The new skatepark that has been planned on the north side of Perry Harvey Sr. Park is not a solution nor a reward for the destruction of the beloved Bro Bowl, a world-famous structure that merits preservation for its historical, cultural and architectural significance. The Bowl has so far achieved local and state recognition for its value, and it is currently on its way for national recognition in Washington, D.C. In spite of the rhetoric by the City of Tampa that the decision to remove the Bro Bowl and build a new skatepark in its place was made with full community involvement, nothing has been further from the truth. It is also noteworthy to mention that other opponents of the Bowl who include Fred Hearns, Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT), and Team Pain, all served as paid, private consultants for the City and its redevelopment plans. According to recently obtained official documents these parties were paid significant sums of money not just for consultation on the redevelopment plans, but for promotion and publicity of those plans to the public. This contractual agreement includes full support of the City's plans to raze the Bro Bowl despite its historic value and significance. In addition, the City claims they listened to public input when deciding the future of the Bro Bowl, but the consensus of whether to save the Bowl or not within the actual community seems to tell a different story. 

Preserving the Bro Bowl involves little change to the City's redevelopment plans for Perry Harvey Sr. Park and will only add the to the honoring of history and culture that the City and Mayor Bob Buckhorn loves to hype. Everyone who supports of the preservation of the Bro Bowl also supports the City's plans to honor the African-American history of Central Avenue. They also support the plans for a supplementary modern skatepark on the north side, albeit smaller and less costly. This is a win-win for everyone.


• Perry Harvey Sr. Park is comprised of 11 acres or 500,000 square feet.
• At 6500 square feet, the Bro Bowl occupies little more than 1% of the 11 acres that define Perry Harvey Sr. Park.
• Based on this plan by the City, the Bowl does not interfere with the proposed history walk nor the outdoor amphitheater.
• After Tampa City Council passed a resolution in December 1975 to build a public park on the former location of the Central  Avenue Business District, Perry Harvey Sr. Park was constructed and completed by 1978.
• The Bro Bowl was referred to as “skateboard rink” on the original plans for Perry Harvey Sr. Park. The plans also called for tennis and basketball courts, a bicycle path, a roller-skating rink, , and a wading/splash fountain.
• As part of the original Perry Harvey Sr. Park (1978), the Bro Bowl is the last remaining historical structure from the park and also from this time period of the Central Avenue district. The Bro Bowl is also culturally and architecturally significant with international fame.
• As such the Bro Bowl should be preserved and incorporated into the history walk with a statue and memorial to Martin Chambers at the foot of the “skate rink.” Chambers was the young man whose tragic death at the hands of a Tampa police officer led to the riots of 1967 and the eventual creation of Perry Harvey Sr. Park. Chambers was known by the community as an avid and talented roller-skater.


Modified to show preservation of the Bro Bowl and the addition of a memorial and monument to Martin Chambers at the head of the Perry Harvey Sr. Park skateboard bowl.

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