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Tampa’s popular Downtowner free shuttle could soon service the Heights

The Tampa Downtown Partnership wants to expand its special taxing authority to areas north of Interstate 275 where development activity is increasing.

A proposal before Tampa City Council on Thursday would allow the group to expand its Downtowner shuttle into the Heights.

Money collected by expanding the group’s special district would mean the popular free electric shuttle could expand its services to popular places like the Hall on Franklin, Ulele and Armature Works.

The Partnership currently levies $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value on properties in downtown Tampa. The group’s 2016 budget based on that revenue was $2.45 million. Expanding the special assessment north of downtown, including in the Heights, would add about $48,000 to the budget.

The Partnership would also extend its business development and marketing services, according to Lynda Remund, the group’s interim CEO.

Remund said the expanded assessment area would also give businesses in the Heights access to beautification and place-making services.

“The hope is for all of our service to be able to enhance that area,” Remund said. “But they have their own identity and we’re very sensitive to that. We don’t want to take over their district.”

Council is expected to schedule its first public hearing on the special assessment district for Feb. 15. Final approval would come in August with the assessment taking effect in October.

The Partnership is hosting two public meetings about its plan: Jan. 31 at 7:30 a.m. at the Hall on Franklin and Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rialto Theater.

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