Residents help city redesign Main Street in West Tampa

A government coalition headed by the City of Tampa has kicked off plans to reimagine Main Street in West Tampa, lifting up the working-class community, creating a sense of place, and bolstering small businesses there.

“We just had our first community meeting this past week to kick off the project announcing to the community what our intent is and to start the whole thing going,” says Tampa Planning Director Randy Goers. “Over the next two months, it is time to work with the community, listening to what their priorities are, and trying to identify issues and opportunities that are out there.”

The city’s planning and zoning departments and its mobility department are working with the Hillsborough County Planning Commission, the University of South Florida’s School of Architecture, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, and the Metropolitan Planning Organization to bring the plan to fruition for the Main Street commercial district and Main Street, itself. The project is called the Neighborhood Commercial District Plan.

“Between now and end of the year, we will have two more community meetings, mid- to late-November and one before the holidays,” Goers says. “We will also be releasing surveys periodically to get feedback. We have started doing some social media discussions on Next Door and will be doing several focus group meetings to talk to property owners, business owners, residents, technical experts, people who can give us a little more information than what we can get.”

Main Street has been on the city’s radar for a number of years and Mayor Jane Castor sees it as a priority, Goers says. The coalition is asking residents and business owners to identify “the big idea” for the community, issues they think need to be addressed. “The district has a lot of things going for it. It is a historic district with wide streets and new investments, but it has been ignored for the past 20 or 30 years.”

People consider safety a priority, they want to bring in new businesses and they want to see local businesses grow, Goers says. 

Visit the city's Main Street/Old West Tampa website page on the project to learn more and to get involved.
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Read more articles by Yvette C. Hammett.

Yvette C. Hammett, a native Floridian and a graduate of the University of Florida, has spent much of her career as a professional journalist covering business, the environment, and local features throughout the Tampa Bay Area. She is an avid camper and outdoors person who has also been involved in local events for foster children and the elderly.