Tampa needs baseball to be next great city for business, official says
Hillsborough County commissioner Mark Sharpe was looking at one more list of the top cities for business awhile back, and once again he was disappointed that Tampa did not even make the list, let alone rank highly.
Telling that story as a setup, he posed a question during a budget workshop Thursday to Rick Homans, president of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp., the county's business recruiting arm: What will it take for Tampa to consistently appear in the top five, like Austin, say, or Raleigh?
Homans didn't hesitate, giving his top five ingredients:
1. Pursue a plan to create targeted economic development areas in the county ready to house new businesses;
2. Build a public transportation system (one of the answer's Sharpe was looking to hear);
3. Bring a baseball stadium to downtown Tampa;
4. Lure at least two new corporate headquarters to Tampa to "fill in" its skyline;
5. Foster an entrepreneurial community, "reeking with innovation." (No doubt Sharpe's second desired answer, though perhaps sans the reeking part.)
It should be noted that Commission Chairman Ken Hagan, he of the Tampa Bay Rays crush, was not even at the meeting.