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Urban Land Institute panel will spend week visiting Tampa, finding ways to revitalize economy

TAMPA — A panel of experts from across the country will invade Tampa on Monday to offer suggestions on how to redevelop the city's urban core.

Experts from the Urban Land Institute's Advisory Services Panel will examine the central business district and all or parts of Tampa Heights, Encore, Ybor City, Channel District, West Tampa, West Riverfront, Old West Tampa and North Hyde Park.

The panelists will come up with recommendations at the end of the five-day visit, scheduled for Monday through Friday. The city wants unbiased opinions from experts outside the Tampa Bay area.

"It will give us the road map to stimulate economic development, spur community reinvestment, and make the central city area one of the most desirable places in the nation," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said in a statement.

The experts work in the fields of economic development, land use, real estate development and government operations. To pay for the advice, the city is spending $120,000 from a $1.4 million grant awarded in March by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The panel will tour the neighborhoods on Tuesday and conduct interviews with local officials, developers, real estate professionals, business owners and residents. Pasco County convened a similar panel for $115,000 in 2008 to develop better business regulations.

Tampa hopes the panelists can develop a master plan for the next 20 years and preserve the heritage of each of the neighborhoods.

"They have a great track record of doing these things," said Randy Goers, Tampa's urban planning coordinator. "They know what they are talking about."

The public is invited to participate in two events.

A public reception will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Straz Center for Performing Arts. And the panel will report its findings and recommendations at the Tampa Convention Center from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

Urban Land Institute panel will spend week visiting Tampa, finding ways to revitalize economy 10/07/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 10:39pm]
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