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$500M helps turn Indianapolis into a more walkable city

As Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City consider whether to increase local sales taxes in support of transportation improvements, other cities are making decisions that move them faster and farther ahead in the race to become more walkable and more attractive as cool cities.

Next City takes a look at how an investment of $500 million made a huge difference, particularly in sidewalks, trails and bike paths. 

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Embracing light rail: What can Tampa-Hillsborough learn from Phoenix?

Not every city needs or wants light rail as part of the solution for transportation woes. But skeptical residents of Phoenix not only came around to supporting light rail, they agreed to pay for it and now are using it in droves. What a difference time and urban mindsets can make.

What can Tampa and Hillsborough County learn from the Phoenix experience?

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Creation of Innovation District in north Tampa moves forward

Plans for the creation of an Innovation District that ties together the collective economic impact of key community partners in north Tampa surrounding the University of South Florida is moving toward reality with a cash infusion of $2 million from Hillsborough County.

Partners would include the cities of Tampa and Temple Terrace as well as local hospitals and top employers such as Busch Gardens.

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Sarasota mall captures national attention

Developers and urban planners across the nation are eagerly awaiting reports of success from Sarasota's new Mall at University Town Center, one of only three enclosed malls built in America since 2008.

The Sarasota mall appeals to higher-end shoppers with specialty stores and expensive wares not often seen elsewhere in Florida.

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Tampa, Hillsborough business leaders get behind sales tax increase for transportation

Business leaders in Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City are getting behind a proposed sales tax referendum that would support transportation needs with a half a cent sales tax increase added to every dollar spent.

The idea is to generate enough money to expand bus and rubber trolley services, fix local roads, and add bike lanes and sidewalks to meet demand of a growing population.

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BP Oil settlement leaves some claims unpaid, cities wanting

Florida cities and counties are expressing disappointment at lower settlement offers being extended by BP Oil to pay for damages claimed from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

While the City of Tampa looks to get nearly half of what it sought -- $27 million of $60 million -- smaller cities are seeing lower percentage settlements.

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Hillsborough transportation plan calls for public input, meetings scheduled

In an effort to win voter approval, Hillsborough County officials are planning 100 more meetings to get public input on which roads and what transportation options should get additional public funding.

The goal is to increase funding for transportation needs by one cent on the dollar in additional sales taxes.

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President's initiative expands Internet access to low-income families

Public housing residents in Tampa will soon have free access to the Internet under ConnectHome, a federal program designed to help children from low-income families catch up with their peers.

Tampa was one of 28 cities in the nation selected by the Obama Administration to take advantage of the program.

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Florida artists picked to create Tampa's newest public art

Three new pieces of public art erected in downtown Tampa will honor the city's vibrant history, including the cigar industry, railroads and the impact of World War II on the local economy.

The artists selected to do the works are Michael Parker of Ruskin, FL, Steven Dickey of Tampa, FL and Jamie Lee Sealander of Venice, FL. 

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Tampa bike sharing grows with success, adds USF

Coast Bike Share says more than 10,000 members have signed up to regularly ride the blue rental bicycles around downtown Tampa and nearby neighborhoods in just the first seven months of operation.

The program's success is leading to the opening of a dedicated call center and expansion onto the USF Tampa campus.

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New Florida law allows growlers at local craft breweries

Local brewpubs and craft breweries can now offer patrons larger 64-ounce growlers of beer thanks to a new law that passed the Florida Legislature and went into effect July 1. 

The response has been quick and favorable as beer aficionados line up to refill containers.

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Daily exercise on the job keeps Skanska employees happier, healthier

Skanska, Florida's largest construction firm, is reducing injuries on the job and seeing employees more engaged with their own health following a new stretching exercise program that starts every morning on the job.

The program helps workers stay flexible and communicates potential hazards faced each day. The result? Happier, healthier employees and less costs to doing business.

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Will new investor take over Kress in downtown Tampa?

One of downtown Tampa's most historic buildings, the Kress, is back on the market after a development contract fell through. 
The building, across Florida Avenue from Le Meridien Hotel, is widely considered to have huge potential for becoming a signature destination for people moving to Tampa as well as for visitors.

The brick exterior and tall ceilings are just the beginning of what makes the building so significant in the history and in the future for Tampa.

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Airport business PEMCO soars after financial difficulties

PEMCO, a company that buys, renovates and sells older airplanes at Tampa International Airport is making a successful comeback following years of bankruptcy-forced reorganization.

The airport-based company operates two 150,000-square-feet hangars round the clock.

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Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announces candidacy for President

Joining a crowded field of GOP candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enters the race for president from his home base in Miami.

Bush, the younger brother and son of two former presidents, says he'll lead a campaign based on his own heart and experiences in private business as well as the public sector.

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