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Taking Stake In Tampa's "West River" Neighborhoods

Invision Tampa, the city’s master planning effort that started in 2010, is now focusing on the "West River" neighborhoods along the HIllsborough River in downtown Tampa.  During a public workshop June 11, Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that the Tampa Housing Authority would be a partner in this work.  "This is the beginning of the plan right here, it starts with you," the Mayor told community members. 

The total planning area is 128 acres in which approximately 80 percent is owned by various government agencies. The remaining 44 acres is owned by the Tampa Housing Authority and is occupied by the North Boulevard Apartments.  The planning team leaders, Peter Sechler of AECOM, Barry Long of Urban Design Associates, and Sandra Moore of Urban Strategies, presented notions of new development, redevelopment, improved safety, added retail amenities, an increase in the potential for jobs, and a more pedestrian friendly neighborhood environment. The overall conversation focused on the "West River" area becoming a “choice community.” 

Invision Tampa, the Center City Plan, will serve as a blue print for the next 25 years. The overarching theme is the river at the center of the city surrounded by strong neighborhoods.  "If you’re going to have a healthy downtown, you have to have healthy neighborhoods -- like spokes on a wheel," says Buckhorn. 

The inclusion of participatory public outreach in the planning and design of neighborhoods is growing in popularity across the country. It is important for citizens to share their vision for the future of their communities and to build consensus for future development in order to take stake in the city’s future.

Citizens will have an opportunity to share comments for the Center City Plan at a City Council Workshop
Thursday, June 20.  Community feedback about the "West River" will be discussed at Blake High School on July 18.  Comments and ideas for Invision Tampa can be made through the Virtual Town Hall.

Writer: Taryn Sabia
Source: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Invision Tampa
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