TEMPLE TERRACE — We all have places that fit us like comfortable shoes. • When you are there, it feels as if your biorhythms and its longitude-latitude have clicked into place like a dead bolt when you turn the latch. • For David Pogorilich, who moved to South Tampa from New Jersey in 1986, that place is Temple Terrace, a city of 24,000 just northeast of Tampa, where he moved after meeting and marrying his wife, Angela.
She grew up in Temple Terrace, which was incorporated in 1925 and named after the temple oranges that grew on its terraced terrain. Her father was a professor of theology at the University of South Florida. She knew the city well and wanted to go back there to live.
And so they set out on their home search. It was 12 years ago and the housing market was so robust and the number of houses for sale in Temple Terrace so few (nearly half the available housing units there are rentals) that house after house they looked at was sold before they could make an offer — including the house in which they now live. That's where their luck turned.
Two months after being sold, it came back on the market — financing problems — and Pogorilich, a construction consultant, just happened to be driving by as the real estate agent was putting the for-sale sign back in the yard.
"I pulled in the driveway, took the sign and told her she'd get it back at closing," he said.
Not long after getting settled in the house, they had a daughter, Taylor, who is 9. They have two golden retrievers, Clifford and Sierra; two gerbils, Marshmallow and Oreo; and a couple of unofficial pets — ducks that wander over, right in front of the "Duck Crossing" sign, of course — from the Hillsborough River, behind the homes across the street.
Temple Terrace is very protective of the large elms and live oaks that line many of its streets. Most have been there since the original developers designed the streets to spare the trees.
"If you don't get a permit to cut down trees, you have to replace them with six times as many as you cut down," Pogorilich said.
At the heart of the city is Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club, one of the oldest courses in the Tampa Bay area.
Pogorilich, 50, said he felt so connected to the city, he wanted to give back, serving on many boards before being elected to City Council in 2010. He's got his hands busy with that — and the most important issue in the city, the redevelopment project, a 30-acre, $150 million new "downtown" being built at Bullard Parkway and 56th Street.
A mixture of retail, residential, civic and office components, it's at a standstill while the city and developer squabble over the residential-retail ratio. But it's on the front burner, Pogorilich said. The city is hoping to market itself to Republican National Convention participants in August.
"We've been one of the best-kept secrets for years. Now we want the rest of the world to know we exist so we can fill up some of our empty houses," he said.