Taking action: Can Tampa's USF flex its horsepower surrounded by crumbling neighborhoods?
Wake up and good morning. Time to get this issue more on the Tampa Bay business community's radar: Do the crime, poverty and generally rundown neighborhoods touching Fletcher and Fowler avenues in Tampa prevent the University of South Florida from becoming more of a hotbed of technology or biotech activity as the university has desired for so long?
The simple answer is, yes. Of course. Maybe this quote is a tip-off. "We're a Third World neighborhood in a first class city," Dan Jurman (left), executive director of the University Area Community Development Corp. told TBO.com here.
Which is why we're starting to see more (non-business) media coverage of efforts to rehab that area surrounding Tampa's massive USF campus. As Tampa Bay Times staff writer Bill Varian wrote earlier this month, the goal is to transform that area of Tampa near USF into an "innovation destination." A group called the Innovation Alliance includes folks from USF, Florida Hospital, Busch Gardens and Moffitt Cancer Center -- heavyweights that have been in talks for the past year about what to do.
Here's more recent coverage from The Oracle, USF's newspaper.
Like USF, other universities have been forced to look beyond their own borders and take action. Yale University, for example, is based in economically depressed New Haven, Conn., and has recently expanded efforts to remake areas of the city more vibrant and, yes, safer.
Re-imagining and improving USF's nearby neighborhoods is long overdue but a herculean project. We'll be tracking this process.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, Tampa Bay Times