downtown tampa

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

The city of Tampa has been planning a redevelopment of Perry Harvey Sr. Park for years. In the same park sits a 35-year-old skate bowl, which recently made it on the National Register of Historic Places. Because the facelift would require federal money, the city has to plan how to take care of both the new park and figure out what to do with the Bro Bowl.

This story is part of a project on commuting in America.

Cities across the country are investing in old-fashioned streetcars to solve what's known as the "last mile" problem. The hope is that trolleys will make it easier for people to get to their final destination.

Atlanta is one of the latest, laying steel rails for a 2.6 mile line. The tracks will run downtown from Peachtree Street to the Martin Luther King Jr. historic district on the east side of the city. Some see this as a big step forward.

A Look at Tampa's Past Through Ghost Stories

Oct 30, 2013
WUSF/Yoselis Ramos

If happy jack-o-lanterns, cute costumes and family-friendly fun don't quite cause your blood to run cold -- you might be among those ready to take Halloween to a new level.  Maybe a good old-fashioned "ghost tour" in downtown Tampa is what you're looking for.

Joe Roberts

Tampa's downtown movie palace, The Tampa Theatre, has stood through boom times and depressions. The jewel still stands along Franklin Street. It has been there since 1926 and was the first commercial building in Tampa with air conditioning.  

Back then the movies were a novelty and people would line up, pay 10 cents to get in and then stand in an even longer line to await the departure of another patron.

Then they'd go inside to watch the movie, and stay until they reached the point at which the story began for them and leave. Apparently, this is where the term, "this is where I came in" comes from.

Framework Group, LLC.

Tampa City Council Thursday night approved a controversial 36-story apartment tower planned along Tampa's downtown riverfront next to the Straz Center for Performing Arts.

The vote waived a 120-foot height restriction so the 400-foot skyscraper can go up, streets closed and traffic rerouted.

City of Tampa

We've all been there: an appointment downtown lasts longer than you were expecting. Your only options are to duck out early to feed the parking meter, or stay and pay the price in the form of a ticket. 

Starting this month, there's a third option. Drivers can use the City of Tampa's new pay-by-phone system to pay for parking from anywhere.

No more digging for change in your car's cupholder. No more urging restaurant servers to hurry up with that check so you can dash back to your car. With the new Parkmobile system, you can pay for parking via smart phone, cell phone or website using a credit card or PayPal account. Drivers can also opt to receive an alert 15 minutes before their parking session expires, and then add more time remotely.

Tampa Fire Rescue

We've probably all heard about a cat up a tree needing to be rescued by firemen, but a feline in Tampa decided to take that story in a whole new direction after getting trapped inside a wall at the Twiggs Street Parking Garage Thursday.

The City of Tampa tweeted out a picture of the confined kitten earlier Thursday with a note saying "Emergency! Tampa PD is working on getting a cat out of a wall at the Twiggs St Garage." Later messages updating the rescue included the tag #WallKitty.

Yoselis Ramos

The Florida Aquarium in downtown Tampa is getting a facelift. Mayor Bob Buckhorn is attending the ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the new Stingray Beach exhibit tonight. .

Sand, shore birds, a boardwalk, and stingrays. It's the closest you can get to actually being on a beach. Stringray Beach is the latest expansion to the Florida Aquarium.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

From October to May, the Downtown Tampa Partnership's "Do the Local Motion!" program holds theme walks that take people around the heart of the city. Coordinator Vicki Anzalone says at noon, every other Friday, people are encouraged to skip lunch and learn more about Tampa.

“We believe that there’s so much history here in the downtown corridor, and we’ve seen every walk we’ve had, people that have lived here for years have said, ‘Wow, I never knew that!’" said Anzalone.

But this month, they’ve brought in some experts—graduate students from USF Professor Barbara Berglund's “Urban Public History” class.

New Downtown Tampa Arts & Entertainment Pass

Apr 1, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

If you're looking to grab a deal in your own backyard, the Tampa Downtown Partnership has launched a discounted pass to check out various locations in Downtown. 

The Downtown A&E Pass offers:

Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Hotel Partners representatives broke ground Wednesday on the Old Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa. They're renovating it into a four-star hotel.

Normalcy Returns to Downtown Tampa After GOP Convention; Questions Remain

Sep 4, 2012
Steve Newborn / WUSF

The 12-foot-high steel barricades are gone. "Romneyville" is gone too, with some trash and ruts in the grass the only reminder of the protester's tent city.  But questions remain about the level of security deployed in downtown Tampa at the Republican National Convention.

(Sound) I've got my mind set on some red beans and rice, some chicken, sausage, and I want some macaroni and cheese and cabbage....

Old City Hall Clock Tower's Facelift Almost Complete

Jul 31, 2012

She's almost a hundred years old but not too old to get a facelift. They call her "Hortense the Beautiful" and she's the old city hall clock tower in Downtown Tampa. She's been an iconic image for the city and has been under much needed renovations.

From ground level, Hortense the Beautiful may not seem to show her age. But standing ten stories high on metal scaffolding, up close and personal, you can see every blemish on her face.

The 1915 clock tower needed its leaky copper roof and dome replaced. Cracked terracotta had to be patched. The clock even needed new hands.