In the heart of the historic West Tampa neighborhood, residents, business owners and community leaders congregated together on two separate nights in April to discuss the redevelopment plan the city has put forth.
Sitting in fold-out chairs facing a PowerPoint presentation in the MLK Community Center on Oregon Avenue, the city laid out its proposal for revitalizing the traditionally lower income, working class neighborhood. The new community redevelopment area (CRA) in west Tampa
encompasses the west side of the Hillsborough River to Armenia Avenue on the west, up to Columbus Drive to the north and Kennedy Boulevard to the south.
While this part of Tampa has a rich history, city planners believe that updates need to be made. According to one study, 56 percent of the roads in the area are in need of improvement, 33 percent of roadways have a pavement condition index of "failed,'' more than 50 percent of housing units were constructed before 1959, and more than 60 percent of the area lacks sidewalks.
"I think the people that live here, and do business in west Tampa have waited a very long time to catch up with some of the other areas that have been redeveloped,'' says Jeanette Fenton
, Urban Development Manager for the city of Tampa.
The CRA includes provisions for numerous tasks including new affordable housing, façade and building improvements, pedestrian access, road improvements, as well as beautification projects.
Those in attendance at meetings held on April 14th
were able to give feedback and input to the city as to what they would like to see happen in their community as this process moves forward. It was explained by Fenton that the next step in the process includes her team putting together a strategic action plan for approval, including input from the community.
As for the cost of this project, that is undetermined at this time.
"We have not run the revenue projections yet,'' Fenton says. "That will be the next step once the plan is approved, then there will be an analysis of all the taxes of the property and what the revenue will be.''
The deadline for the Urban Development team to present its strategic action plan is July 1st