TAMPA, FLA. — The InVision Tampa team presented its Center City Plan built from the collective vision of area residents, businesses and stakeholders. This plan affirms Mayor Buckhorn’s core focus on re-centering downtown around the Hillsborough River and connecting area neighborhoods in a pedestrian, transit friendly manner. Underscoring five building blocks for smart urban growth, the plan includes 10 initial forward moves that are designed to continue the resurgence and momentum that the Center City is experiencing from both a quality of life and economic development perspectives.

“The community input and engagement on this planning effort was just extraordinary,” said City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “With that kind of collaboration, I am even more confident that, together, we can make this happen.”

Since early April, 2012, the City of Tampa and global urban planners have collected public input from more than 800 residents through large forums and neighborhood workshops, and more than 1,000 online users through social media and virtual town halls. Five key, overarching building blocks have emerged from those discussions, including a strategic focus on the underutilized waterfront; livable neighborhoods; a strong, mix-use pedestrian environment; sensible community linkages between neighborhoods; and an urban pattern that supports transit.

Short term, the plan outlines a need for reconfiguring community streets and amenities, as well as supporting transit enhancements throughout the urban core. Moving forward, the plan looks to the North Hyde Park and University of Tampa areas to leverage existing and evolving economic development opportunities. Long term, the plan will catalyze and support a transformation of the West Tampa area as well as Tampa Heights, VM Ybor and other close neighborhoods.

To help outline key steps to success, the InVision Tampa team compiled 10 forward moves including:

1.Nurture new river places that spur activity and create access to the Hillsborough River and Garrison Channel, extending the economic value of the Center City waterfront.
2.Make the north downtown neighborhoods a multimodal, walkable area that extends the value of the Riverwalk and cultural venues east to Nebraska Avenue.
3.Establish streets and parks as primary elements of civic identity to catalyze downtown as the location of choice for new private development investment in the region.
4.Redevelop south downtown in a pattern of streets, blocks and public spaces that connect the Channel District with venues in the Downtown Core.
5.Reposition street corridors from traffic conduits to residentially-oriented, balanced “Neighborhood Connectors” and local business “Main Streets.”
6.Rebalance Tampa and Florida Avenues as local streets, joining neighborhoods while providing regional access.
7.Develop an attractive, safe, cross-city, multi-purpose trail that links the eastern and western Center City to neighborhoods and the Riverwalk.
8.Create a premium local transit route crossing the river from the Channel District to North Hyde Park to link residential, employment, and academic areas and capture “choice riders” as a mechanism for both transportation and economic development.
9.Continue on the mission of repositioning the large parcels of property within the Center City for development while supporting grassroots efforts for neighborhood improvements.
10.Leverage substantial education and healthcare assets and investments by linking their large workforce and student populations with community revitalization.

Next steps for the InVision Tampa team include additional outreach and the draft plan focused on the Nebraska Corridor, which began with community charrettes in early December. By early January, on a nearly parallel course, the team will begin that multi-year revitalization and transformation of the West Tampa area.

“We are charting a very methodical and focused course,” commented Mayor Buckhorn. “Our Center City is the front door for all of Tampa, and we are going to continue to build a beautiful active waterfront and a series of connected neighborhoods around it.”