'Say No to Bass Pro' Activists Speak Up at Commissioners' Meeting
Hillsborough County Commissioners heard from speakers concerned about a deal that would bring Bass Pro Shops to Brandon. If the deal falls through, would Pasco be considered, as one newspaper reported?
At its Feb. 6 meeting, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners heard from speakers concerned that the deal under which a Bass Pro Shops would open in Brandon is too much of a good thing for too big of a national corporation.
A report posted by Tampa Bay Times notes that speakers wearing stickers reading, "Say No to Bass Pro" spoke against using tax funds to fund a road proposal that would pave the way for the Bass Pro Shops store in the complex known as the Esturay, at Falkenburg Road and Causeway Boulevard.
The Feb. 6 meeting marked the first of two such public hearings concerning a change to a development agreement that would affect the construction of the large retail complex.
No action was taken at Wednesday's meeting.
The second hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Opponents at the meeting noted there is a hotline for residents to register complaints (813-436-4000).
Tampa Bay Times reports that at the Feb. 6 meeting, Commissioner Ken Hagan said he knew Bass Pro Shops officials have looked at location in Pasco County, "including the Shops of Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel" and that he "believes a store could end up there if things fall through in Hillsborough.
The report noted that a Bass Pro representative declined to confirm Hagan's report but noted that it is not uncommon for the company to be approached in such a manner when its interests are focused on a certain area.
Palm Beach developer David Verardo is behind the proposed 150-acre retail complex west of the Westfield Brandon shopping center and east of The Crossing church, near the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. Hagan confirmed last year that Bass Pro Shops had an interest in the complex.
At issue now is the use of more than $8 million in taxpayer-funded incentives to secure a 140,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop in Brandon. The money would be used to build and improve roads around the proposed store’s location.