What do a hotel, a university, a medical simulation facility and a green river have in common? They are winners in the Tampa Downtown Partnership's 6th Annual Urban Excellence Awards.
presented Urban Excellence Awards to nine organizations for their contributions toward making downtown Tampa more bright, creative and inviting:
, for turning a deteriorating hotel into a restored, vibrant place;
Lights on Tampa: Aqua Luces
, for illuminating five downtown bridges, creating engaging new media works of art;
, for creating a community hub that offers coffee, tea, shopping and dining in a posh atmosphere;
, for establishing a cocktail lounge on the Riverwalk offering 360 degree views of the city;
Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation
, for being a community leader providing recognition and funding to Tampa Bay nonprofits;
The University of Tampa
, for providing a residentially based, intimate higher education experience that contributes to the downtown community;
USF Health CAMLS
(Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation), for attracting people to the downtown core from across the country and around the world for specialized medical training.
Special Awards of Excellence were also presented to two organizations:
Mayor’s River O’Green for turning the Hillsborough River green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and the 2012 Tampa Bay Host Committee for promoting the positive aspects of Tampa Bay to millions of viewers during the Republican National Convention
"It’s always greatly appreciated to be recognized for making a difference," says Robin Nigh, Manager of Art Programs for the City of Tampa.
The City’s Lights on Tampa initiative worked with property owners to place permanent lights on five downtown landmark bridges in less than eight months. The project has been recognized on both the local and national level, and is now proud to be among the Urban Excellence Award winners.
"We knew the lights would be a game changer for downtown,” says Nigh. "They complement our assets. It’s important to a community to have things like this that celebrate where we live."
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Sources: Donna Chen, Tampa Downtown Partnership; Robin Nigh, City of Tampa