Tampa’s Downtown Guides and Clean Team serve as the on-street ambassadors in Downtown. They are trained on various customer service and auto-repair practices. Recently, the Guides and Clean Team were given updated, comprehensive life-saving CPR training by On-Scene CPR and Safety Training, Inc.
The Guides can be reached by calling 813.267.2220 or say “HI!” to the team members when you see them on your walk in Tampa’s Downtown!
The Tampa Downtown Partnership’s annual Urban Excellence Awards program celebrates individuals, businesses, organizations, events and projects that have created a positive and lasting impact in Tampa’s Downtown.
Take time today to submit your favorite example of Tampa’s Downtown leadership, innovation, talent, and community spirit! Nominations are open to the public and are a fun, easy way to show much you love Tampa’s Downtown!
Please complete and submit the nomination form below. You may also access the form by visiting our website at TampasDowntown.com. All submitted entries will be considered on their merit. Nominations must be related to and/or located in Downtown Tampa and can be an individual, business, organization (for profit or not-for-profit), event, or project that:
Click here to nominate today!
Watch the video from last year’s event here.
That’s Tampa International Airport’s growth in passengers flying non-stop to and from Europe in July, compared with the same month last year. This is an increase from 30,000 European passengers in July 2018 to more than 50,000 this year. That outpaces growth in international travelers more generally (up nearly 25 percent year-over-year to about 110,000) and all passengers for the month (up nearly 5 percent to 1.9 million). There’s a few things at work here: New service to Amsterdam on Delta and London-Gatwick on Norwegian Airlines, plus double-digit growth for British Airways and Lufthansa. The airport also has focused on marketing its flights in European markets that do not have direct flights to other Florida destinations, attracting some first-time visitors to Tampa. “There was once a perception that we could not grow international here in this airport,” Tampa International CEO Joe Lopano said. Not true, he said. “There’s pent-up demand in this market.”
“Non-stop flights to Europe from TIA have taken off” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
Until he became homeless, Terry Lofton was spending more than half of his monthly disability check on the $500 rent for a one-room studio.
Now he is sleeping on his cousin’s floor.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Lofton, 61, who has recently worked as a security guard and housekeeper.
For the past six years, the faith-based group HOPE has battled to get Hillsborough County leaders to make a long-term commitment to provide housing for people like Lofton, who struggle with the Tampa Bay region’s rising rental costs.
So the group celebrated this week as the county’s new Democrat-majority commission pledged to set aside $10 million every year for an affordable housing trust fund.
The fund will be used both as a subsidy and incentive for the construction and preservation of affordable housing. Construction will be done through partnerships with non-profit groups and affordable housing developers. The money can also be used to purchase land suitable for affordable housing.
At least half the money must be spent on housing for low-income families. That includes 30 percent for households categorized as “very-low income.” Based on federal calculations used for housing vouchers, a household of four people would need a combined gross income of less than $33,500 to meet that criteria.
“Investing in ways to increase access to affordable housing is critically important to our communities,” said Commissioner Kimberly Overman. “When we don’t, we end up with homelessness.”
Recent studies have shown how difficult it is for Tampa Bay’s lowest paid families to keep a roof over their head.
The $1,133 average rent for a two-bedroom apartment here is well beyond the reach of minimum wage and other low-paid workers, a study released in June by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found.
A salary of $21.79 an hour — more than $13 above the state’s minimum wage — would be needed for that rent to be “affordable,” which is defined as spending no more than 30 percent of a person’s income on rent. Households that exceed that threshold risk spiraling into debt.
The crisis has been exacerbated by the Florida Legislature continually raiding the statewide Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust. Since 2001, lawmakers have siphoned more than $2 billion from the trust into general revenue, according to a Senate report.
The money for Hillsborough’s new trust will come from the county’s general fund. Commissioner Sandy Murman said she is concerned a majority of the money will end up being spent inside the city of Tampa at the expense of unincorporated Hillsborough.
“We’re doing a huge favor to the city of Tampa by doing this,” Murman said. “The Mayor should be sending us a grand thank you note.”
But other commissioners said it makes sense to build affordable housing close to work centers and proposed transit routes expected to be funded by the transportation sales tax.
The creation of a housing trust fund is a significant u-turn for the county. In recent years, it made money available for low-cost housing — as much as $5.1 million in 2018 — but commissioners had been reluctant to make the long-term commitment required for a trust.
Commission Chairman Les Miller acknowledged that it was the persistence of members of HOPE, which is made up of members of local churches, that led the board to relent. Its members frequently packed commission meetings wearing purple HOPE T-shirts.
“Your tenacity on this issue for the last six or seven years has been frightening to a certain extent,” Miller joked. “You hung in there.”
The vote was welcomed by former Republican commissioner Victor Crist, one of the few members of the previous board who consistently voted for a housing trust fund.
“The cost of living has been growing significantly in Florida, most especially the Tampa Bay area, and the need for affordable housing has become very critical,” he said.
“Hillsborough County to spend $10 million a year on affordable housing” – Tampa Bay Times (subscription required)
Your Downtown Calendar
The following is just a sample of upcoming events in Downtown Tampa. Visit the Downtown Tampa Events Calendar for a more comprehensive list!
Local Leaders Luncheon – Dr. Judy Genshaft
Tuesday, September 10, begins 11:30am
Tampa River Center
Join us for our inaugural Local Leaders Luncheon featuring Dr. Judy Genshaft. This engaging luncheon features local leaders who have made a significant impact on Tampa’s Downtown. During her 19-year tenure, Dr. Judy Genshaft catapulted the University of South Florida System to national and international prominence for student success, academic rigor, research and innovation, and economic development. USF recently was given the elite designation of “Preeminent State Research University,” becoming only the third Florida institution to earn this prestigious honor. USF was also recently accepted into the distinguished Phi Beta Kappa honor society, a sign of the institution’s growing national reputation. For more information, go to Local Leaders Luncheon – Dr. Judy Genshaft.
CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture
Saturday, September 14, begins 8pm
Tampa Museum of Art
Experience the vibrant celebration of fashion, art, and culture at the Tampa Museum of Art. This year, the Museum transforms into an energetic runway filled with fashions by internationally renowned designer Angel Sanchez. Angel has designed wedding gowns for Sandra Bullock, Eva Longoria, and Princess Tatiana of Greece, and his talent has won over celebrities on the red carpet and the international party circuit, including Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift and Diane Lane. Proceeds from CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture benefit the Museum’s exhibition and education programs. For more information, go to CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture.
Sunday, September 15, begins 11am
The Tampa Indie Flea is a curated event meant to showcase the amazing talent within our community. The Flea exists to promote local arts and culture to engage and empower our community towards positive grassroots growth. Take a walk around and find some new treasures for you and some gifts for friends and family! For more information, go to Indie Flea.
On the Marquee at Tampa Theatre
“Stink! Stank! Stunk!” An Artist Talk with Alex Da Corte – Tuesday, September 10, begins 7pm
The Spy Behind Home Plate (2019) – Wednesday, September 11, 7:30pm to 9:15pm
Country Music: A film by Ken Burns (2019) – Thursday, September 12, 7:30pm to 9pm
Jim Jefferies “The Night Talker Tour” – Friday, September 13, begins 8pm
The Skyway Bridge Disaster (2019) – Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15
Sing-Along Grease (1978) – Sunday, September 15, 3pm to 5pm
Taking the Stage at the Straz Center
Meteor Shower by Steve Martin – Through Sunday, September 29
Opera Live! A Pop-Up Performance featuring Opera Tampa – Tuesday, September 10, begins 6:30pm
The 13th Annual “Crackup Cancer” Comedy Benefit – Saturday, September 14, begins 8pm
Siudy Flamenco Intimo – Sunday, September 15, begins 6:30pm
Monday Morning Memo –Monday Morning Memo is a weekly update of “insider downtown information” regarding developments, transportation, special opportunities and other useful information to help you make the most of downtown. Subscribe to receive this weekly newsletter.
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