5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, August 7, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

(1) Tampa Riverwalk graffiti

The Tampa City Council is scheduled to vote on Thursday to go forward with removing graffiti on the Kiley Garden seawall portion along the Tampa Riverwalk.

City officials want to put a permanent interactive light display called Lights on Tampa on the Kennedy underpass segment of the Riverwalk. That will require the removal of graffiti painted for decades in that portion of the seawall by crew teams using the Hillsborough River.

"We want to Tampa Riverwalk to be active and engaging, and highlight Tampa's best natural asset, the Hillsborough River," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "As part of our effort to create lasting public art projects like this, we are taking advantage of natural and man-made backdrops."

Tampa has an agreement with Friends of the Riverwalk to split the $80,000 price of removing the graffiti. The removal is scheduled to begin later this month and take two to three weeks to complete.

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the transfer of $40,000 to the Friends of the Riverwalk during its meeting today which begins at 9:00 a.m.

You can view a rendering of the new Lights on Tampa display at www.tampagov.net/dept_Public_Affairs_NewsCenter/images/WJA_Proposal_Lights_on_Tampa_Page_08.jpg .

 (2) Tampa train "Quiet Zone"

The Tampa City Council is scheduled to discuss a plan to create a Train "Quiet Zone" through the city on Thursday.

The Quiet Zone go along CSX tracks in Ybor City, downtown Tampa and south to the Port Tampa area.

"As our urban area continues to densify, the train horns bounce off surrounding developments. They are becoming more of a nuisance to residents and potentially stifling economic opportunity," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

The City Council is scheduled to approve a $90,545 study of how best to 65 CSX rail road crossings so trains would not be required to use their horn.

The study will allow the engineering team to assess what upgrades, such as gates or signage, are needed to be made at each crossing to comply with the Federal Railroad Administration's Train Horn Rule . The study is scheduled to be completed by December.

(3) St. Petersburg skateboarding ban

The St. Petersburg City Council is scheduled to discuss ending its ban on skateboarding on Thursday.

The city has been skateboarding in the downtown corridor for two decades.

The St. Petersburg Public Services and Infrastructure Committee recently approved a revised ordinance that would allow skateboarders to use downtown sidewalks. All street and bike lanes would continue to remain off-limits for skateboards since state law does not permit their use there.

The ending of the ban would allow impose a safety requirement for children. Skateboarders age 17 or younger would be required to wear a helmet or face a $213 fine.

The skateboarding ban is scheduled to be discussed during today's City Council meeting which begins at 8:30 a.m.

(4) Le Méridien Tampa hosts returning service members

Le Méridien Tampa is partnering with Troops Rewards to offer five returning MacDill Air Force Base service members a recovery vacation beginning on Thursday.

The troops, who are coming home from deployment in Afghanistan, will get to relax with their families in the hotel which just opened in June.

"This brand new hotel in the former historic courthouse is sure to provide the backdrop for many memories, as these soldiers and their families relax and enjoy their much deserved time together," said Tom Burkett, Troop Rewards' executive director.

The five service members will also receive free visits to the Tampa Museum of Art, Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium and an eBoats cruise on the Hillsborough River.

The recovery vacations will kick off with a Welcome Home reception at 6:30 p.m. the Bizou Brasserie at Le Méridien Tampa.

Troops Rewards is a Tampa-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing rewards to U.S. service members returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hostile areas. For more information, visit www.trooprewards.org .

(5) Lakeland BBQ team on televised cooking competition

A Lakeland-based barbecue team will appear on a televised cooking competition on Thursday night.

Whiskey Bent will be featured on FYI Network's World Food Championships reality TV series.

The group was one of 300 professional chefs, home cooks and restaurants that competed in Las Vegas for $300,000 in prizes at the 2013 World Food Championships.

FYI is the A+E cable network formerly known as Bio. You can watch Whiskey Bent on World Food Championships at 10:00 p.m.

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