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Water leaks have the Gasparilla Music Festival looking for a new home

Kiley Gardens
The Cultural Landscape Foundation
Courtesy: Friends of Kiley Garden
One of Tampa's biggest music festivals is currently without a home. Organizers are looking for an alternative venue for the Gasparilla Music Festival.

The leaks to an underground parking garage at Kiley Garden has prompted the city of Tampa to look for an alternative site for the music festival.

One of Tampa's biggest music festivals is currently without a home, as organizers are looking for an alternative venue for the Gasparilla Music Festival.

The festival has been held at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa since it began in 2012. Several stages have also graced Kiley Garden, an adjacent plaza built in the 1980s.

But there's a problem: Water has been leaking from the surface into an underground public parking garage. There's no danger to the public, but city of Tampa spokeswoman Lauren Rozyla said they don't want heavy equipment like stages at Kiley Garden.

Water leaking into the underground parking garage
Walter P. Moore and Associates
City of Tampa
Water is seen leaking into the underground parking garage at Kiley Gardens.

"So, as a precautionary measure, the city is not allowing any event in the space until we receive full approval from an engineer to put loads on the top surface of that structure," Rozyla said.

Rozyla said the city is actively working with the event's organizers to find a suitable space for the festival, which is usually held in February.

No work has been approved to fix the leak yet.

Here's part of a report to the city from a consulting company hired to address the leaks:

The original construction took place in 1985 in conjunction with the construction of the adjacent 33-story Rivergate Tower. Kiley was built as an actual garden on top of the subsurface parking garage. The park featured a series of unique fountains, and approximately 800 crepe myrtle trees.

The design led to water intrusion into the garage that was addressed in a 2006-2008 renovation. The renovation removed all the water features and trees. A new waterproofing membrane was installed at that time to address the issues. The trees and fountains were never replaced, and the space became an open area adjacent to the renovated Curtis Hixon Park, which opened in its current form in 2010.

Over the years the membrane began to fail, and water intrusion into the garage increased.

Our opinion of probable construction cost for implementation of the Base Repair:

Recommendations is $9,000,000 to $11,000,000. This range of cost does not include the cost for either retrofit of the existing stormwater drainage system or installation of a new stormwater drainage system so that the abandoned planter cells can be drained at the structural slab level.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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