V.M. YBOR — After years of relative inactivity, the V.M. Ybor Neighborhood Association has come back to life. They've got a blog, they've got a Web site and they've got big plans.
The new neighborhood board has been active since January, led by president Christina Gesmundo, a four-year resident who teaches communications at Hillsborough Community College and the University of Tampa.
Gesmundo says she wants her neighbors to know how much power they have as residents. "I want people to know they can call up the city and say we want more benches in the parks, and that can happen."
So far, the new association has gotten soccer netting put up in Cuscaden Park, and is working with the Tampa Police Department to form mobile patrol units, to enforce prostitution and drug laws. Gesmundo wants to capitalize on grants that are available to neighborhood associations for improvements.
In the years that V.M. Ybor's association was dormant, several residents joined groups nearby, such as the Historic Ybor Neighborhood Civic Association.
Gesmundo wants them to know they now have a place within their neighborhood that they can join.
A couple of dozen people have already signed up.
"One of our biggest missions is to give power to the people," Gesmundo said. "And make sure they have a voice."
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3354.