"Our goal is that 10 years from now, that waterfront is the center of our downtown, not the western edge," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn upon completion of the InVision Tampa plan. Based on feedback from over 800 residents, businesses, and property owners, along with online comments from more than 1,000 people, the detailed plan focuses on the "center city," which encompasses the central business district, Channel District, Ybor City, North Hyde Park, University of Tampa, West Riverfront, Old West Tampa, Tampa Heights and V.M. Ybor. The vision crafted with the help of consultants from AECOM is for "a community of livable places, connected people and collaborative progress that embraces and celebrates its river and waterfront."
"The center city plan is really about continuing on a path that we believe that Tampa is already on to become a more livable place, a place with strong neighborhoods, a diversified and healthy downtown with many ways to connect to the river and to the water," said Pete Sechler, AECOM project manager. InVision Tampa includes an outline of five goals to "reimagine and refocus activity along the Hillsborough River," "create livable neighborhoods in the center city," "strengthen links between downtown and nearby neighborhoods, "make pedestrians and cyclists feel safe and welcome," and "create urban patterns that support transit." The plan was well-received by the community at a meeting Tuesday, and the city will hold a series of discussions on the corridor's possibility for rail transit next month.
InVision Tampa is the first of a three-part strategy to redevelop Tampa's urban core. The other two parts are being developed by the Urban Land Institute and the Tampa Housing Authority. Experts from the institute have been looking at development opportunities in downtown and along the river, while the housing authority and city are conducting a detailed study of 140 acres west of the river, reports Richard Danielson.