Old fashioned game gets permanent home in Ybor

New dominoes table unveiled in Centennial Park
Posted at 5:09 PM, Jul 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-12 17:09:03-04

When you hear "Ybor" you might think of cigars, and Cuban food, but there's another classic in the city that's looking to make a comeback.

People are reliving the good ole days of people sitting down and enjoying a game of dominoes, which now has a permanent place in Ybor City.

Ybor City's Development Corporation (YCDC) purchased and installed a locally-designed and locally-created original dominoes table, with seats, now available to the public at Centennial Park.

It's a small token to what was a legacy in Ybor.

"My family is from Ybor City, west Tampa originally. Been here over a hundred years. Grew up around the game, dominoes," says Tampa banker Leo Alvarez, who is credited with bringing the idea to the YCDC.

He says he brought his personal dominoes set to a recent cigar making event in Ybor, and it was a hit.

"We had Tampanians playing, young and old. We had tourists playing," explains Alvarez. "So I got to thinking shortly after that, what a great idea to have them start being placed in Tampa."

The hope is that the table will help bring more visitors to the quiet park.

"I think Centennial Park is a jewel within Ybor City. We don't have a lot of green space so I think we need to spend more time thinking about what we can do in Centennial Park, to bring it to life," explains Courtney Orr, the manager of the YCDC.

 "People want to go where other people are and I think we can get this space activated," adds Orr.

The table cost the YCDC $4,450. It's a lot of money, but Orr says it designing it and crafting it locally turned out to be the cheaper option, and believes it was well worth it.

In fact, she envisions this table being a kind of pilot program, with more tables to follow in Centennial Park and other parts of Ybor.