The City of Tampa’s Fiscal 2024 budget includes $75,000 in funding for the New Tampa Players’ Penguin Project, whose production of “Beauty & the Beast” was the first performance at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center. (Photo credit: Angie Schneider)

The City of Tampa’s Fiscal 2024 budget passed unanimously on October 3 and, according to District 7 City Council member Luis Viera (whose district includes all of New Tampa), a number of New Tampa projects were included in the budget allocations. 

1. K-Bar Ranch City Park — “I was able to put the plans for the city park in K-Bar Ranch in the Community Investment Tax (CIT) for future consideration,” Viera says. “This puts us in the dugout so to speak, and ready to bat when the time comes. That’s a big change and major movement forward for us there. This is the K-Bar Ranch Park I have been talking about with my constituents for a really long time. My idea was to move it into potential projects with plans ready to go in concrete.” 

2. Penguin Project Funding — “I was able to get $75,000 for the New Tampa Players (NTP) theatre troupe, for their Penguin Project, for an adult version arts program for people with intellectual disabilities,” Viera says. “Presently, when persons with intellectual disabilities in the Penguin Project (an effort by NTP to give persons with ID a first-class theatre opportunity — like ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Beauty & the Beast (photo), etc. — “age out” (at age 18), they are done with the program. This funding will allow NTP to create another program for adults. It’s wonderful. This project is spearheaded by NTP president Nora Paine, who is an amazing disability advocate who also is a Heritage Isles resident.” 

3. Street Repaving — “We were able to get about $7 million in new funding for repaving,” Viera says. “This will create opportunities for streets like New Tampa Blvd. in West Meadows, which desperately needs to be resurfaced, and 30th St. (Bruce B. Downs Blvd. south of Fowler Ave.). Nothing is set in stone yet regarding which planned repaving projects will get what, but it moves us faster forward for New Tampa Blvd. for consideration. I believe the Tampa Palms Blvd. repaving is just about done.” 

4. Fire Station & Public Safety Funding — “I also was able to secure $1.5 million in design funding for Tampa Fire Rescue (TFR) Station No. 25, which will be on Fowler Ave,” Viera says. “This will allow for better response times for the areas around Fowler Ave., but it also will allow Station No. 20 on Bruce B. Downs Blvd. (serving the Tampa Palms area) to better serve areas north of Fowler, especially zip code 33647. The design of the new station will take about a year, and then, we will get construction funding. I have a motion coming in a month or so to look at government bonds for our new fire stations. So, while this budget item is not directly funding for New Tampa, it will allow areas in North Tampa south of Tampa Palms to be taken care of by this new forthcoming station, so that Station No. 20 can better focus on the areas to the north of Tampa Palms. So, it is a piece of the puzzle.” 

He adds, however, “As for direct fire station funding for New Tampa, we got money for a new rescue vehicle for TFR Station No. 22 on Cross Creek Blvd. (a little west of Morris Bridge Rd.) to help with response times for the K-Bar Ranch area. This is big news for that area.” 

And finally, Viera says, “The budget also allocated $50,000 to fund the city’s Public Safety Master Plan I have been pushing for three years. This means that we will have a citywide assessment of emergency response times and needs for both fire and police — which, of course, acutely affects New Tampa when it comes to fire safety.” 

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment