Tampa, FL – December 13, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor announced today the award of a $30 million grant for the revitalization of northern downtown Tampa and the Encore redevelopment. Tampa is one of only four communities nationwide to receive a grant today from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Choice Neighborhood initiative.
The Choice Neighborhood award to the Tampa Housing Authority will bring more jobs and modern housing to the important downtown gateway, Ybor City and Tampa Heights, as well as job opportunities and economic development to the city as a whole.
“The Choice Neighborhood grant award is one of the most significant community investments for Tampa and our neighborhoods. It will boost Tampa’s economic recovery, create jobs and provide residents a new chance at urban living near their place of work,” Castor said. “We presented a vision that garnered national attention in this highly competitive quest for community investment. The award will uplift this neighborhood and everyone who will call it home.”
The money will be used to further the transformation of the former Central Park Village, the once-blighted neighborhood, into the new Encore community that will include mixed-income rental apartments, senior housing, condos, retail space, a hotel, grocery store, town square, health center, early childhood education center, an urban farm, a new library and a redeveloped park over 12 city blocks.
“Encore is a new and vital link between downtown, Ybor City, the Channel District and East Tampa,” Castor said. “A safe, affordable and vibrant community in the city’s core is a hallmark of a great city. Tampa should be proud. President Obama and the Housing and Urban Development team obviously understood our message and desire for progress in the heart of Tampa.”
Castor, as a Hillsborough County Commissioner, strongly supported revitalizing the area. In 2010, Castor helped the Housing Authority secure a $38 million grant for the Central Park Village area through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and her advocacy with President Obama and the Administration. This month, the Housing Authority broke ground on Trio, an apartment building, and held a grand opening for Ella, a senior residence. Ground is expected to be broken for the Reed, which also offers senior housing, next week.
“Today’s Choice grant award builds on previous grants, including $38 million in 2010 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was passed by Congress in 2009,” Castor said. “Those grants set the foundation for Encore. Today’s grant propels Encore to the next level.”
Tampa is one of four communities – Seattle, San Antonio and Cincinnati are the others — receiving today a combined $109 million through monies appropriated by Congress for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative to redevelop housing and work on neighborhood revitalization efforts. The Choice Neighborhoods program has a cap of financial support, $30 million. Tampa is receiving the greatest amount possible and the largest grant of the four awardees.
Key partners include Central Park Development Group, City of Tampa, School District of Hillsborough County, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance, University of South Florida, Hillsborough County, Tampa Family Health Centers and We Care Services, Inc. The community’s vision for Encore includes a new state-of-the-art health clinic that will provide health care services to all neighborhood residents and a new early childhood education center run by the Hillsborough County Public Schools. HCPS has also partnered with the University of South Florida to develop a 2-acre urban farm adjacent to the Encore site. The University will run its Gardening, Academic Improvement and Nutrition (G.A.I.N) initiative at the farm site, and the farm will also provide health education opportunities and fresh produce for the neighborhood residents. Hillsborough County will soon replace the local library with a 25,000 square foot facility that will offer a physical and programmatic connection to the adjacent Booker T. Washington Elementary school. THA will then partner with the new library to expand its literacy and mentoring programs. THA will also work with the city of Tampa to redevelop Peter Harvey Sr. Park, an 11-acre park adjacent to the Encore site. The redeveloped park will include cultural elements, an improved skate park and a community center.