La Gaceta Editor and Publisher Patrick Manteiga is asking lawmakers for $1.2 million to pay for repairs and renovations to the historic Cuban Club in Tampa’s Ybor City.
State Rep. Susan Valdes is sponsoring an appropriations request. The funding would come from the Department of Economic Opportunity.
Manteiga says the funding would be used to reduce water intrusion to the building, replace gutters, pedestrian decks, windows, doors and balconies on the 4th floor ballroom.
It would also be used to replace and modernize the building’s outdated elevator including adding an outside entrance to better accommodate persons with disabilities.
Funds would also be used to paint the 1917 building and replace rotting wood.
It’s not clear whether the request will gain support in the Legislature. Local funding initiatives are often whittled away during the budget process and similar requests roll in from organizations all over the state.
But Manteiga’s request claims the project would enrich cultural experiences in the Tampa area, improve educational opportunities, increase economic activity and provide jobs.
He cites the building’s use as a venue in which liquor is sold as a benefit to Florida’s tax base and appeal to tourism as a benefit to the state and local economy.
The building enriches cultural experience and educational opportunities because it hosts concerts, theater performances, art shows and educational seminars.
Manteiga also claims the improvements would “protect the general public from harm” by being used as an emergency shelter or distribution center.
Manteiga lists support for the Cuban Club’s overall usefulness in the community from the city of Tampa, Hillsborough County and local historic preservation boards.
His appropriations request does not include financial support from any other sources. Manteiga also does not list a lobbyist working on his behalf for the state funding.
He filed the request on behalf of the Cuban Club Foundation, a non-profit organization that runs the venue.