EDC’s Placemaking initiatives gain steam with East Tampa Industrial District workshop

November 29, 2022

Earlier this month, the Tampa Bay EDC convened East Tampa business and landowners along with a diverse group of community stakeholders for a workshop dedicated to exploring improvements for the East Tampa Industrial District. This was the first that time the EDC had an opportunity to meet with East Tampa business and landowners and get their perspectives on how to transform the area and make it more successful. East Tampa is a key focus area of the EDC and its Foundation’s Inclusive Economic Growth Initiative, along with Central Park, Ybor City, and Uptown. I’m pleased to share that the workshop, led by EDC staff and GAI Consultants, the firm we hired to produce the East Tampa Industrial District Master Plan, was well received by local business owners and stakeholders. They welcomed the opportunity to share their ideas and collaborate to enhance the district’s desirability as an industrial business destination.

The workshop kicked off with GAI presenting an overall vision for the district and moved on to identifying current challenges and opportunities business owners faced. We then proceeded with breakout table discussions centering on beautification and appearance, community safety and health, streets and transportation, and business marketing and promotion. Several themes emerged from these conversations that will help us shape the master plan: reasonable code enforcement and property upgrades, greater safety and property protection, enhancing investment opportunities in existing businesses, closing workforce gaps, and converting portions of Columbus Drive for better traffic flow.

Our next steps will be to further refine GAI’s draft plan with the help of our new advisors from the community along with the input we received from our City of Tampa, HART, Hillsborough County Public Schools, USF, and Black Business Investment Fund partners – who also participated in the workshop. Collaboration and a shared vision of success will be essential as this project takes shape, and I think we’re off to a great start.