Earlier this month Joe Redner, who owns the park, said he had made an arrangement with Occupy Tampa that would have them leave their encampment by the middle of next month. But that didn't satisfy City Councilman Frank Reddick, who refused to cancel Thursday's hearing on conditions at the facility.
Also on the agenda will be the second reading of an ordinance that would allow Cigar City Brewing, the acclaimed brewery run by Redner's son Joey, to expand its facilities off of Spruce Street.
When the issue came before the council for first reading in June, only Reddick and Charlie Miranda voted no.
Redner says he feels an animosity emanating from Reddick that he doesn't appreciate.
"He hates me," Redner told CL in a conversation last week, reflecting on the opposition that Reddick and parts of the black community in the Lincoln Gardens area of town have voiced whenever the issue of Cigar City has come before the Council.
When contacted by CL, Frank Reddick said,"I don’t hate him. I think what Mr. Redner has done is ignored the total interest of the community with Cigar City Brewing. He failed to realize that when they do that one special event per year, they attract over 1,000 people, and those people are parking or blocking people's driveways, and he not willing to address that."
But Redner is indignant to such complaints.
"They cannot cite one single incident for a reason why - they just don't want it here," Redner says of the complaints that have come before the council since Cigar City first came into existence from the community.
"You have 15 people speak, not one of them can cite an instance (of negative activity stemming from the brewery)," Redner adds.
In the past Tampa Police officials have agreed, testifying that there have been hardly any calls for service regarding incidents from people entering or exiting the brewery.
Because of its popularity, Cigar City intends on expanding its tasting room and increasing its occupancy.
Regarding Voice of Freedom Park, Redner is upset with press reports that he is booting out the members of Occupy Tampa who still camp overnight. Perhaps its just semantics, because Redner says he's made an agreement with the group that they will move on by the middle of September.
Various members of the Buckhorn administration are scheduled to address the council regarding the conditions of the park on Thursday. The issue arose after a petition was circulated among West Tampa neighborhood officials complaining that the park was becoming an "eyesore," though it has been cleaned up since then.
Councilman Reddick says that Redner is playing "political gamesmanship" with the city by waiting to eject Occupy members from the West Tampa park until after the RNC.
"I wonder why he is waiting an additional three weeks. Why not close it immediately?" Reddick asks, meaning immediately after the convention. "I think he's ignoring the wishes of of the people in the community."
Reddick is also troubled by the fact that the activist group Food Not Bombs intends on serving meals from the park beginning next week. He says that Occupy's website is promoting that thousands will flock to the small park for the convention, though that seems unrealistic because in fact, the park wouldn't be able to hold that many people in all probability.
"It’s nothing personal, no hatred towards him at all," Reddick says. "All those people cannot congregate in that small area, and Mr. Redner has not addressed that problem."
The City Council meeting begins Thursday morning at City Hall at 9 a.m.