Uptown developers: Vision, investments will begin to address inequity issues

Mark Sharpe, !p Chief Potential Officer

"The COVID crisis, poorly considered lockdowns, and now righteous anger over the killing of George Floyd have laid bare the underbelly of America.

No, I am not in any way justifying the violent elements of otherwise understandable anger, but I am making the case that America must address the social and economic inequities that have plagued our nation since its birth.

Mark Sharpe, !p Chief Potential OfficerOur poorest communities are like dry timber vulnerable to any spark that might create a destructive wildfire. Lack of public healthcare, adequate infrastructure, or sustainable income have combined to create an environment that makes our poorest the most vulnerable to disease and economic downturn.

It does not need to be this way.

America is the greatest hope for freedom and economic opportunity in the world, yet we have allowed generational poverty and deprivation to hold down segments of our society that have suffered incalculable injustice and discrimination.

This is why I am so inspired by the progress made in Uptown and the opportunity we have today to create a new world for citizens who have yet to participate in the economic miracle that has lifted so many out of meager subsistence.
 
Uptown is the alignment of community energy and focused resources for the express purpose of creating equitable economic growth.
Uptown is the alignment of community energy and focused resources for the express purpose of creating equitable economic growth. The Tampa Innovation Partnership has committed to an unprecedented partnership with the Uptown residents for the express purpose of creating what President Reagan called a city upon a hill; a beacon of hope for all mankind.

I am certain that America’s greatest days are ahead of us.

We have faced great trials before and will successfully manage our current challenges.

Physics teaches us that pressure creates diamonds and that stress can make us stronger.

We will weather this series of storms and come out better and stronger, yet this is not enough. To make the suffering of those before us, like Mr. Floyd meaningful, we must cross the chasm, to a place where everyone excels. This, my friends, is Uptown. Join us.''

Christopher Bowen, RD Management Chief Development Strategist

“Though there was considerable damage to property throughout our community over the weekend of May 30, thankfully, there was no loss of life and relatively few related injuries. However, there were at least two police officers who were seriously injured while trying to protect others on the mall grounds.

Christopher Bowen, Chief Development Strategist at RD ManagementWe wish to express our gratitude for their service to our community during what was a very scary, volatile, and dangerous situation. We also want those officers and their loved ones to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers right now and we wish them a full and quick recovery.

The destruction and violence expressed this past weekend does not represent how the majority of our local residents conduct their daily lives.

 
The destruction and violence expressed this past weekend does not represent how the majority of our local residents conduct their daily lives.
I have worked with many extraordinary people here and have witnessed first-hand how hard they have worked to build a better community and life for themselves, their families, their neighbors … and total strangers, for that matter. These are good people who are actively involved in a wide range of positive initiatives through their local churches, schools, the University Area Community Development Center, Tampa’s Innovation Partnership, and many other great community organizations.

As a community right now, and that includes the people who work at and represent the University Mall, we were hard at work this past Monday morning listening to others, determining what is currently taking place before our eyes, and coming together to take positive, meaningful action wherever possible to make our community a better place to live, work, dream, and innovate.”

Bowen, chief development strategist of RD Management, the developer of University Mall, chairs the Executive Board of !p. He also wrote this article for !p's website about how the Uptown District can move forward -- perhaps even for the better -- in light of the events that recently happened in North Tampa.

Here is a link to watch and listen to a conversation with Mark Sharpe and Christopher Bowen at Cafe Con Tampa.

 
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