New Walks, Curbs Tidy Up N. Tampa Neighborhood

Tampa's 22nd Street North corridor now has sidewalks, curbs and gutters running along both sides of the street. Its newly meandered design and speed tables slow the traffic that once raced through the neighborhood. Streetlights and security cameras protect drivers and pedestrians from danger.

"We're the most densely populated area in Hillsborough County; and one of the most densely populated areas in the state," says Julian Garcia, Jr., executive director of the University Community Redevelopment Corporation. "What we've done with redevelopment of this corridor is part of an overall plan to rejuvenate the whole area."

According to Garcia, 158 small- to medium-sized businesses started in the city's university section last year, which created 189 jobs. The  Prodigy Cultural Arts program promotes literacy, personal enrichment and the arts to members of the community, who also enjoy accessible and affordable health care through the University Area Healthcare Center.

Garcia says pre-planning studies were critical to redevelopment success. "We've taken a holistic approach to what we gathered through a housing condition survey and an assessment of attitudes about crime in the community," he says.

Garcia says the studies were done with support of the Jim Walter Partnership Center at the University of South Florida and Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida.

Garcia and his team have since developed a manual of best practices for community redevelopment and have conducted five symposiums throughout Florida to share what they've accomplished and to show what is possible for other areas in need of rejuvenation.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Julian Garcia, University Community Redevelopment Corp.

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