It’s a signal to let you know you’ve entered Temple Terrace—a 40-foot white tower with a Spanish tile roof is the gateway into the city near 56th Street and South Riverhills Drive.
The matching bus stop across the street further conveys the message.
“These are fabulous,” said Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti. “When you come across the river and you get that entrance tower, you’re in another world.”
The structures are the first gateway monuments to be placed at a city entrance. Others are planned for entry roads such as Fowler and Fletcher avenues. Smaller towers will mark secondary roads into the city.
At the Oct. 4 City Council meeting, council members awarded a contract for streetscape , including one of the smaller entryway towers. City Manager Kim Leinbach told the council that the tower currently in place has been “well received” by the community.
The structures were designed by Grant Rimbey, a lifelong Temple Terrace resident and architect, and Don Cooper, of Cooper Johnson, Smith Architects in Tampa.
They were originally proposed by the city about 10 years ago. But after the plans were drawn, the idea for the downtown redevelopment project began to take shape and the city put the tower project on hold. Once the redevelopment project was underway, the city decided to move forward with the tower and bus stop near the 56th Street/South Riverhills Drive intersection, which is just south of the redevelopment project.
The design was based on input from the public at downtown redevelopment workshops.
“The citizens chose the 1920s Mediterranean Revival style as the style that most identified Temple Terrace, since that was the original architecture style for the city when it was created in the 1920s,” Rimbey said.
He and Cooper specialize in this type of design.
The construction of the tower is concrete block with a stucco finish, Rimbey explained. The cupola top is a steel frame boxed out with wood.
“These materials were chosen for their durability since the building is located next to the river and a busy highway,” he said. “The tower sits on four concrete piles because the riverbank soil is so soft.”
Rimbey said he thinks the entry towers are important because they help Temple Terrace compete with other communities in the Tampa area, such as South Tampa and New Tampa.
“For starts, people need to know where Temple Terrace is located,” he said. “The new tower and bus stop is part of the effort to re-brand the community so it is once again easily discerned from neighboring Tampa and the county.”