Regarding Tribune reporter Kevin Wiatrowski's article "Tampa gives two nonprofit groups a break on failure to fulfill contract" (Metro, Jan. 14):
I can understand why Tampa City Council is concerned about the impending default by the Stewards Foundation at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park.
But let's review the Stewards Foundation mission: to use the sport of rowing as a vehicle to teach teamwork and responsibility to young people, including summer rowing camps for intercity youths. Thirty percent of the students in the Juniors program receive scholarships during the academic school year.
Please recognize there are children who do not have the inclination, size or height for football or basketball and should be afforded a non-contact team sport option. The Stewards Foundation has been the only Tampa entity providing that link.
Let's not ignore the annual revenue brought to the city by visiting schools that come here to row in the winter. Hundreds of students occupy downtown hotels, eat at downtown restaurants (and we all know how much student athletes can eat). The Stewards Foundation coordinates that activity, providing space for their equipment and floating docks from which to launch.
Were the Stewards Foundation to disappear, those schools and their revenue would find another city (I understand Sarasota is wooing them). But they like Tampa, the water is fabulous for rowing, and it's a shorter drive than Sarasota or Miami.
I would ask city council members to look carefully at the entire picture, and let's find a way to make this work for everyone.