April 24, 2014

Community Portrait

Tampa & Hillsborough County

More than just gathering data, we're trying to capture elements that make each community distinctive.

Pam Iorio
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio

Quality of Life

» Government

Mayor Pam Iorio has brought an honest, professional approach to managing a city government infamous for cronyism and good ol’ boy dealings. She has been slow to define a clear, broad vision for the city but is building momentum behind expanding mass transit. County government has been ineffective in managing runaway growth in the suburbs; the county commission is politically fractious. In recent years, the tax collector’s office has been a notable innovator in improving service to citizens.

» Downtown

Land-use decisions made years ago shut off public access to the downtown waterfront and have kept Tampa’s downtown moribund. But a transformation may be under way: A fine arts museum, a new history center, children’s museum and Rivewalk are opening along the waterfront, and a park has been redesigned to function as a public square.

» Fiscally

Ratings agencies say city and county are sound financially, with low, manageable levels of debt. Bonds are generally high-rated.

» Biggest Strengths

Youth, energy, trend toward better government.

» Biggest Needs

Progressive business leadership, better transportation system, better growth management.

Centro Ybor
Ybor City is a major entertainment venue.

» Amenities

The NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the NHL Tampa Bay Lightning call Tampa home, and the Tampa Bay Rays play in nearby St. Petersburg. The Ybor City Historic District, formerly a cigar-making center and hub for the city’s Cuban community, now functions, in fits and starts, as an entertainment district. Much of Tampa’s nightlife takes place at the Channelside Entertainment Complex adjacent to downtown. The Tampa Convention Center, St. Pete Times Forum and the Florida Aquarium are all in the district. The city boasts a large number of fine restaurants, including three Florida Trend Golden Spoon Hall of Fame restaurants. The city’s Gasparilla Pirate Festival, held in January, draws close to 500,000 people. The city of Tampa operates more than 165 parks and beaches covering 2,286 acres; the county maintains 42 more in surrounding suburbs, covering 70,000 acres.

» First-Rate Attractions

Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens amusement park
Florida Aquarium
Lowry Park Zoo
Museum of Science and Industry

Florida Aquarium
Florida Aquarium

» Schools

The Hillsborough County School District is rated “A” overall by the Florida Department of Education. More than 100 district schools received an “A” rating, with three “F” schools. More than 54% of the district’s students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.

Percentage of students countywide performing at or above grade level in 2008:

Grade Reading Math
3 71% 74%
9 46 67
10 41 70


» Air Quality

There were five days in 2007 in which air quality reached the unhealthy range and one day when it reached the very unhealthy range for sensitive groups.

Hillsborough Orange Miami
Superfund hazardous waste sites 72 23 52
Facilities that release air pollutants 393 251 0
Facilities reporting toxic releases 142 101 87
Facilities reporting hazardous waste activities 2,122 2,719 3,935

Tags: Tampa Bay

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Keep Business Secrets in Self-Destructing Messages
Keep Business Secrets in Self-Destructing Messages

Jon Brod, co-founder and president of Confide, discusses the use of encrypted, un-traceable messages for business use on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.”

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