The Tampa Downtown Association was originally formed out of a collaboration of Downtown stakeholders, including influential property owners, developers and business people who, for several months, held weekly discussions about key downtown issues. They believed that for Tampa’s Downtown to continue to prosper as the region’s economic, cultural and recreational center, the central business district should have a proactive, private-sector organization that represented the community.
The Association was structured in a way that ensured a broad representation of the downtown business community and provided a forum for dialogue among local leaders. The Association drafted a mission statement and goals that formed basis for the Association to begin its work.
On August 7, 1987, the board of directors unanimously voted to change the Association’s name to the Tampa Downtown Partnership. The name reflects a genuine desire to work together in a partnership with the Downtown community to elevate the potential of Downtown’s physical and economic development.
The Tampa Downtown Partnership administers the Special Services District program through an annual contract with the City of Tampa. Since 1994, the Special Services District (SSD) has focused on maintaining a clean and safe downtown for people to live, work and play. As the longest operating business improvement district in the state of Florida, the Special Services District encompasses 1,085 acres and 348 blocks. Property owners initiated the District as an economic development tool, providing a reliable source of income to enhance the services of the Central Business District.
In 2017, property owners in Tampa Heights requested the provision of Special Services be extended into their area. In response to these requests and the growth of Tampa’s Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods, City Council approved the expansion on Thursday, August 23, 2018. Service began October 1, 2018.
It is funded by an assessment on properties located within the district boundaries. The Tampa Downtown Partnership is contracted by the City of Tampa to administer and manage operations of the SSD.
The assessment formula for funding the SSD is based on relative property values within the District as determined by the Hillsborough County Property Appraiser. The City of Tampa and the Partnership have developed an annual value-based assessment rate.