Friday, December 15, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Work to turn around university area

The city of Tampa is finally bringing some much-needed attention to Terrace Park and University Square, two aging and struggling neighborhoods 12 miles north of downtown. Last week, the Tampa City Council recognized a new master plan for the community — the start of what will be a yearslong process to clean up the neighborhoods, improve housing and attract new businesses. This effort is overdue, and it could fundamentally change the look and economics of an area that is central to nurturing a medical arts hub near the University of South Florida.

Local officials and residents worked on the community plan for more than a year, addressing everything from housing, traffic and crime to the need for more public infrastructure, parks and mass transit. Situated east of I-275 between Busch Boulevard and Fowler Avenue, the Terrace Park-University Square area came of age with the opening of USF a half-century ago. Today, it includes a mix of industrial uses along with housing for students and moderate-income workers. The 4-square-mile area also includes Busch Gardens and the Museum of Science and Industry. The university and a sprawling array of health care providers sit to the north.

The transitory nature of the population and a demographic base that is younger and more racially diverse than Tampa as a whole present both challenges and opportunities. Improved mass transit service would make it easier for residents to seek work both within and outside the area and clear the way to landscape the streets to make the district more attractive to new investment. The plan calls for new public works, housing rehabilitation grants, a crackdown on slum landlords, more streetlights and a range of crime prevention programs.

The city should start small by beefing up code enforcement and working with landlords and low-income homeowners to improve their properties. Neighborhood leaders should expand cleanup and Crime Watch programs; the first step toward attracting new business is to create a safer living environment. Officials should look at grant programs to fund small, locally owned businesses, and work to put vacant property back to work or to public use. Even pocket parks can foster a sense of community.

The city should follow through with new capital spending, and it will need to spend more on the operations side to beautify the commercial core and the neighborhoods. But with USF increasing its national profile, and with the medical arts a new regional economic focus, the city has an opportunity to turn around the university area and revive its economic base. The community plan is a start, and a smart way to energize residents and the private sector.

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Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

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Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

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Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

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Published: 12/12/17

Another voice: Privacy in the internet age

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Published: 12/10/17
Updated: 12/11/17
Editorial: Grand jury could force reforms of juvenile justice system

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Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Editorial: U.S. House sides with NRA over state’s rights on concealed weapons permits

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Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

Editorial: Hillsborough cannot afford pay raises for teachers

There is no satisfaction for anyone in the standoff over pay raises between the Hillsborough County School District and its teachers. Most teachers across the nation already are underpaid, but this district simply cannot afford the raises teachers ex...
Published: 12/07/17
Editorial: Impact of Water Street project extends beyond buildings

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Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/08/17