Planners will examine West Shore area
SOUTH TAMPA - The Westshore Alliance — a business group that represents companies in Tampa's West Shore area — is working with the city and Hillsborough County to create a master plan for the district. The study will focus on growth, recreation, transportation and mass-transit issues, said Ron Rotella, alliance director. As more residences enter the business district, a long-range plan will help create a sense of place, he said. "It'll serve as that guide for West Shore's vision and evolution," Rotella said.The new study will look at things such as landscaping, streetscapes, sidewalks and benches, said Bob McDonaugh, the city's administrator for economic opportunity. "If you improve the public realm, developers are more comfortable in investing money in an area," he said. "People want to live there and people want to build there." Several months ago, the alliance developed the area's design overlay district, dictating setbacks and design guidelines for future development, McDonaugh said. "We did the commercial overlay district that determines what happens on private property — building size, setback size, landscaping," Rotella said. "But there is no plan for the public spaces in West Shore. This master plan is going to focus primarily on the public realm." The alliance will hire the University of South Florida's Florida Center for Community Design and Research to conduct the study. City and county officials agreed this month to pay a third of the master plan's $62,500 bill. The business district, which is more than 10 square miles, is the city's largest business and employment center, according to USF's master plan proposal. "They're an important part of our marketplace," McDonaugh said. The district includes Tampa International Airport, Raymond James Stadium, Hillsborough Community College, International Plaza, WestShore Plaza and dozens of hotels and restaurants. But the plan will focus on a smaller geographic area, running from Boy Scout Boulevard to Kennedy Boulevard, from Hillsborough Bay to Himes Avenue. The city and county will assign a representative to the Alliance Master Plan Committee to oversee the scope of services for the plan. It will take about a year to complete the study.
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