TAMPA — With a busy off-ramp just 50 feet away, the former church on Palm Avenue exists in the shadow of Interstate 275, and for two decades the state has planned to bulldoze the red-brick building to make way for a major highway expansion.
But over the last five years, the Tampa Heights Junior Civic Association has invested thousands of volunteer hours and attracted an estimated $1 million in donated materials and services to create a community center....
11/27/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — After 21 years, Tampa is officially dropping its juvenile curfew.
Unofficially, it hasn't been enforced for 11 years, ever since the Florida Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional and unsupported by good data.
"It's not going to change the way we do business," police spokesman Stephen Hegarty said. "It's a housekeeping thing."
Tampa has a long, on-again, off-again history with curfews for minors....
The Tampa Bay area is the 15th best place in the United States for college students, according to a new ranking from the American Institute for Economic Research.
The group, a nonprofit think tank that focuses on economic trends and personal economics, ranked metropolitan areas on everything from unemployment to diversity to nightlife. Tampa got its best marks for its cost of living minus rent, overall economic activity and, despite rising rents, the cost of rent. Here are the bay area scored in each category measured by the group:...
TAMPA — For a third straight year, Tampa is opening its recreation centers to health care navigators so residents can get advice about signing up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
This year, Tampa is competing with 20 other cities in a White House-sponsored Healthy Communities Challenge competition to see which can sign up the highest percentage of people who lack coverage....
TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's real estate venture has hired a Dallas-based parking company to handle lots during games, concerts and other events at Amalie Arena.
ParkHub's cloud-based software and handheld readers will create "more payment options and less time in line," company founder and CEO George Baker said Tuesday in a news release, noting that parking is often an arena's first point of contact with fans....
11/19/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Police have written fewer and fewer bicycle tickets over the past six months, and at this point, they can't say they see crime on the rise.
This summer, Tampa officers wrote fewer tickets than in any summer for more than 10 years. That followed a Tampa Bay Times report that over a three-year period Tampa cited more bicyclists than Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando and St. Petersburg combined, with 80 percent of the violations going to black riders....
11/19/15 Local Government
TAMPA — The City Council voted 4-to-3 Thursday to kill Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposal to create a new fee to pay for an unprecedented $251 million expansion of the city's underperforming drainage system.
Council members Frank Reddick, Charlie Miranda, Yvonne Yolie Capin and Guido Maniscalco voted against the stormwater improvement fee. At a public hearing, some South Tampa neighborhood leaders supported the idea, but representatives of real estate agents, car lots and Ybor City properties opposed it....
The issue of accepting Syrian refugees has exposed a divide between Florida's Republican governor and Democratic big-city mayors, a partisan split featured in other states.
While Gov. Rick Scott opposes the relocation of 425 Syrian refugees to Florida, the Democratic mayors in Tampa and St. Petersburg welcome the arrivals.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said some local nonprofits have already resettled some Syrians in the area without incident. National security is a priority, he said, but rigorous screening should eliminate any potential threat....
11/18/15 Local Government
TAMPA — With the NFL saying Tampa is a finalist to host the Super Bowl again in 2019 or 2020, the Tampa City Council on Thursday will consider a resolution approving a formal bid to host the championship for a fifth time.
If the council approves, the city would agree "to provide all governmental services (including without limitation public safety, security, fire and medical emergency, traffic, decorative display and public work/street maintenance services and supplies) reasonably necessary to the success" of the game and "related events" within the city, according to the resolution, and that the services would be provided "all at no cost, expense or liability to the NFL or the two participating teams."...
With the NFL saying Tampa is a finalist to host the Super Bowl again in 2019 or 2020, the Tampa City Council on Thursday will consider a resolution approving a formal bid to host the championship for a fifth time.
If the council approves, the city would agree “to provide all governmental services (including without limitation public safety, security, fire and medical emergency, traffic, decorative display and public work/street maintenance services and supplies) reasonably necessary to the success” of the game and "related events" within the city, according to the resolution, and that the services would be provided “all at no cost, expense or liability to the NFL or the two participating teams."...
11/16/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik said he and his Cascade Investment partners are "making good progress" on signing a tenant for half of a 650,000-square-foot office building planned for the first phase of their downtown redevelopment project.
Vinik, who hopes to land the headquarters or a regional division of a Fortune 500 company, gave no further details about the prospect's identity during an hourlong speech Monday as part of the Thought Leaders @ The Centre Club discussion series....
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Monday supported Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to create a $250 million Enterprise Florida Fund to boost efforts to recruit companies to Florida.
It is the biggest mayoral endorsement yet of an economic development proposal Scott is trying to sell to the Legislature. Buckhorn not only leads Florida’s third largest city but has consistently welcomed Scott’s job recruitment efforts. And he’s a prominent Democrat who is contemplating running for governor himself in 2018....
TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott has combed Florida for mayors to help him persuade skeptical legislators to approve more Enterprise Florida incentives for business recruitment, and on Monday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn volunteered.
"We could not have done what we've been able to do over the last four years, in terms of attracting corporations, without Enterprise Florida and these incentive dollars," Buckhorn said, citing the recruitment of companies like Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ashley Furniture....
11/12/15 Real Estate
TAMPA — Plans to build 400 apartments or condominiums and a riverfront restaurant on the current site of the Tampa Tribune moved forward Thursday night.
The Tampa City Council gave its initial approval to a rezoning proposed by Related Development LLC of Miami to build an eight-story building on the Tribune property at 202 S Parker St., just north of the W Brorein Street bridge. The project would include a five-story parking garage with 800 spaces....
TAMPA — With the huge Tampa Bay Express interstate construction project on a path to move forward, there are few signs neighborhood opponents can stop it dead.
But officials say residents can have a say in how a rebuilt "Malfunction Junction" interchange looks from the ground.
That's why the Florida Department of Transportation is holding a series of community meetings at the John F. Germany Public Library on the design of the massive project, particularly the part that affects neighborhoods like Tampa Heights....