Tampa Bay History
Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon first arrived in the Tampa Bay area in 1513, but the Spaniards focused their attention on settling eastern Florida and left the western areas alone. In 1824, only two months after the arrival of the first non-native settlers, the U.S. Army established Fort Brooke to protect the strategic harbor at Tampa Bay. Development of the region began after the territory became part of the United States in 1845. Despite the blockade and federal occupation during the Civil War, the area grew steadily. Henry B. Plant's 1884 railroad extension to the Hillsborough River provided access to new areas, and he built lavish hotels along his rail line to attract visitors which led to continued economic growth in Tampa that lasted for the next fifty years.
Tampa owes its commercial success to Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River. When phosphates were discovered nearby in the late 1880s, the resulting mining and shipping industries prompted a boom of growth and wealth that lasted through the 1890s. Tampa's port is now the seventh largest in the nation.
The military has also had an ongoing role in Tampa's development. The City was the primary outfitting and embarkation port for U.S. troops bound for Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Today the U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command are headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base.
The advent of the automobile was responsible for a large settlement wave that occurred 1923-26. Many subdivisions were built during this era; one of the most notable was Davis Islands, a man-made island created by D. P. Davis. The elegant homes Davis built remain some of Tampa's loveliest.
The main Tampa downtown business district has grown phenomenally since the 1960s. Major banks and an increasing number of other corporations occupy large glass, steel and concrete buildings that tower high above the bay. Tampa continues to attract key industries such as corporate headquarters, bioscience, international trade, technology, financial services, manufacturing, and distribution companies.
Tampa has evolved into a multi-cultural, diverse business center with sustainable communities for its citizens. People of all ages arrive here to escape the worries and winters of wherever they came from, and an increasing number of them stay.
The City of Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The City occupies 113 square miles and serves a population of 399,700. Tampa is the third most populous city in Florida and is the largest city located in the metropolitan statistical area comprised of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando counties, with over 3 million residents. Tampa is nestled in the center of the region, approximately 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico beaches to the west, 70 miles from Walt Disney World and Orlando to the northeast, approximately 200 miles northwest of Miami, 180 miles southwest of Jacksonville, and 20 miles northeast of St. Petersburg. The region's natural environment includes miles of blue waterways, pristine beaches, brilliant sunlit skies, and exceptional weather.
Cultural Events and Social Activities
Tampa is the home of numerous annual events and celebrations, and unique cultural events. Gasparilla, Tampa's signature event for more than a century, pays homage to Tampa's last great mythical buccaneer, Jose Gaspar. Gasparilla events begin in January with a pirate invasion and continue with celebrations through March. Festivities and activities for everyone include parades, marathons, art shows, and music and film festivals. The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates, along scenic Bayshore Boulevard, is the nation's third-largest parade.
Other annual events include the Outback Bowl, a college football bowl game played in January, the Mayor's River O'Green Fest, the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Festival, Tampa Riverfest, Tampa's Downtown on Ice, and Santafest. The Mayor's River O'Green Fest is Tampa's official Saint Patrick's Day event at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. For the occasion, Tampa water crews transform the Hillsborough River to a bright shade of green while residents and visitors enjoy a free family-friendly celebration including, activities, games, and live entertainment.
Boom by the Bay, the City's Independence Day celebration, features family-friendly activities, live entertainment, and fireworks displays along Tampa's waterfront. New Yarrgh's Eve Booty Drop, a family-friendly New Year's Eve event with live entertainment, food and drinks, and games that culminated with the countdown to midnight dropping a 3-D, 320-foot-tall projection of a treasure chest and of course, fireworks.
Providing endless opportunities to live, learn, work, and play, Tampa offers year-round cultural events and social activities for people of all ages and interests - everything from serene strolls along scenic Bayshore Boulevard, to paddle board/kayak nature tours, or the excitement of Ybor City. A variety of entertainment activities may be found in the City and surrounding areas including numerous parks, sunny beaches, restaurants with international cuisine, world-class golf courses, racquetball courts, saltwater fishing, tennis, and shopping. Sports fans can enjoy football and hockey while art lovers can attend music and art festivals. Recreational facilities that appeal to both City residents and visitors are either located within the City or are only a short drive away. Major attractions in and around Tampa include Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, and ZooTampa at Lowry Park. Cultural venues such as Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa Bay History Center, and Glazer Children's Museum capture the spirit, history, and creative value of Tampa. Walt Disney World including Hollywood Studios Theme Park, Universal Studios, and Sea World are all just over an hour's drive to the east. Two-thirds of the state's major attractions lie within a 100-mile radius of Tampa.
Professional Sport Teams
The Tampa Bay area is the proud home of several professional sports teams including the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Bay Rowdies. The City of Tampa also hosts the New York Yankees' spring training each year.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers professional football team were the NFL Super Bowl Champions in 2003 and 2021. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and University of South Florida (USF) Bulls football teams play their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. The stadium underwent substantial renovations and upgrades to include the replacement of two main scoreboards, installation of new sound amplification equipment, replacement of stadium seating, and club renovations. The stadium now boasts the most technologically advanced HD video system in use today, comprised of two massive 9,600 square-foot boards, and four large 2,300 square-foot HD tower walls. With more than 31,000 square feet of video display space, this system ranks as the third-largest video board system in the NFL. Raymond James Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls; XXXV in 2001, l XLIII in 2009, and Super Bowl LV this past February.
In the heart of downtown Tampa, between the Tampa Convention Center and the Florida Aquarium, lies the Amalie Arena, one of the premier entertainment venues in the southeast. It is home of the Tampa Bay Lightning professional hockey team, who are recipient of the Presidents' Trophy, two-time Conference Champions, four-time Division Champions, and the 2004, 2020, and 2021 Stanley Cup Champions. The Amalie Arena also hosts many concerts, family shows and sporting events each year. The arena's numerous events include NHL All-Star Games, ACC and SEC Men's Basketball Tournaments, NCAA Women's Final Four, and the 2012 Republican National Convention. Due to COVID-19, the Toronto Raptors have been playing their home games at the Amalie Arena and will continue to do so for the full 2020-2021 season.
In addition, the New York Yankees professional baseball team has spring training at the City's George M. Steinbrenner Field baseball stadium and in spring 2020, they celebrated their 25th Anniversary Season in Tampa.
The Yuengling Center (formerly known as the USF Sun Dome) is located on the campus of the University of South Florida (USF) and is home to the National Collegiate Athletic Association's USF Men's and Women's basketball teams, USF Volleyball team and is host to numerous concerts and events throughout the year.
Tampa offers a variety of post-secondary educational opportunities. The University of South Florida (USF) offers premier research opportunities in the fields of science and medicine. USF offers 180 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialty, and doctoral levels, including the Doctor of Medicine. USF is designated as a "Preeminent State Research University" and is one of only 56 public research universities classified by the Carnegie Foundation as both, a Doctoral University with "Highest Research Activity" and as a "Community Engaged" institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
In January 2020, the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute opened at Water Street Tampa, the world's first wellness district, bringing approximately 1,800 students, faculty, researchers, and staff to Tampa's downtown urban core and waterfront. The state-of-the-art training facilities at USF Health's Morsani College of Medicine, Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Heart Institute provide superior medical education, clinical care, and research to improve patient care and health outcomes while transforming health education and pioneering discoveries to end heart disease. The new facility provides immediate access to Tampa General Hospital, USF's primary teaching hospital, as well as proximity to USF's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) and the Tampa Bay Research and Innovation Center at CAMLS.
The University of Tampa (UT) is a private university located on approximately 110 acres of prime riverfront land in the heart of downtown Tampa. UT provides more than 200 fields of study including various graduate studies programs. UT is regarded as one of the nation's best 384 institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review. Only 15 percent of four-year colleges in the U.S. share this honor. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UT in the top tier of the category Regional Universities (South), and for 2020 includes it on five additional lists. Since 2010, UT has been included on Forbes' annual ranking of America's Top Colleges. The list is based on factors such as educational quality, graduation rates, and career prospects.
Hillsborough Community College (HCC) offers more than 190 academic options which include an array of business, technical, and health sciences. HCC has five primary campus locations, two satellite locations, a very active distance learning program, and a comprehensive corporate training center.
Also, near downtown is the Tampa Law Center of the Stetson University College of Law. Saint Leo University, just north of Tampa, has a center at MacDill Air Force Base and has been recognized as one of the top military-friendly colleges and universities.
Entertainment and Cultural Facilities
The City offers a variety of entertainment and cultural facilities to residents and visitors. Busch Gardens is a family adventure park offering an array of fascinating attractions based on exotic encounters with the African continent. It offers an appealing blend of thrilling rides, one of the Country's premier zoos featuring a variety of animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games. Adventure Island, which is located next to Busch Gardens, is a 30-acre waterpark with a beach volleyball complex, waterslides, pools, and kid-friendly attractions.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is an eight-time winner of the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence (2010-2018). Encompassing 56 acres, ZooTampa cares for a variety of animals with emphasis on endangered, threatened, and vulnerable species from Florida and similar climates/habitats with park areas devoted to Florida, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Other features include aviaries, primate exhibits, the manatee critical care center, a splash pad, rides, shows, hands-on interactive exhibits and animal encounters, and signature seasonal and fundraising events. The Florida Environmental Education Center or "Zoo School" is a hands-on learning facility that offers daycare, preschool, and summer and holiday camp programs. ZooTampa is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the gold standard for animal care and welfare which is received by only 10% of the zoos across the United States. Additionally, the Zoo has won numerous awards for its animal conservation and management programs and has been recognized by the State of Florida as a center for Florida wildlife conservation and biodiversity.
Also accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, The Florida Aquarium is among the top aquariums in the world. The aquarium includes aquatic plants and animals from Florida and around the world and has an outdoor water play area. The Heart of the Sea exhibit prominently features the Aquarium's three conservation priorities - sea turtles, sharks and coral. The Florida Aquarium is ranked in the top 15 aquariums in the country by TripAdvisor.com and ranked in the top 5 "Kid-Friendly Aquariums" by Parents Magazine. The aquarium also features a 4-D theater, dolphin cruises, backstage passes/tours, and various swim and dive experiences.
The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts ("Straz Center"), located on the east bank of the Hillsborough River, is one of the largest performing arts institutions in the country and provides an environment for a wide variety of world-class events. The Straz Center includes five theaters, a rehearsal hall, coffee shop, restaurants, and showcases community art projects of local artists as well as artists from around the world and through the ages. It boasts one of the nation's leading Broadway series and is nationally respected for producing grand opera, as well as presenting a wide variety of concerts, performances, and events. Also, the Patel Conservatory, the only accredited performing arts school in the region, offers performing arts classes in dance, theater, and music for students of all ages and experience levels.
The Tampa Bay History Center, located in the Channel District, is one of the largest history museums on the west coast of Florida. The museum presents exhibits spanning 12,000 years of Florida history, focusing on the Tampa Bay region. The History Center is also home to the Touchton Map Library/Florida Center for Cartographic Education. The only cartographic research center of its kind in the state, it houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Florida cartography in the world, with holdings spanning five centuries. Additionally, the Tampa Bay History Center is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, providing the museum access to the Smithsonian's vast collection of artifacts and support for educational programs.
The Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa features antiquities as well as modern and contemporary art exhibitions. Other museums include the historic H. B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa, the Contemporary Art Museum at USF, the Scarfone Gallery at the University of Tampa, the Veteran's Memorial Museum and Park, the Ybor City State Museum, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, and the Glazer Children's Museum.
The Tampa Convention Center, located directly on the waterfront in the heart of downtown Tampa, hosts a variety of conventions, tradeshows, and other special events year-round. After a busy day of lectures, seminars or classes, attendees are welcome to visit numerous downtown attractions and restaurants located just a trolley ride away in Ybor City, the Channel District, and Sparkman Warf.
The Downtown Riverwalk is a 2.6-mile continuous walkway stretching from the Channel District to Tampa Heights along the east side of the Hillsborough River. It incorporates pedestrian amenities, art and interpretive elements, retail and restaurants, parks and open space as well as water attractions that are available from water taxis, rentals (boats, paddle boards, kayak, etc.), tours and the cross-bay ferry service.
The City of Tampa's budget is affected by a variety of economic factors that are significant drivers of demand for City services and major revenues. The following is a brief discussion of historical and current key economic indicators, including employment and population growth, employment industries in Tampa, unemployment rate, and the performance of two major economic engines (Port Tampa Bay and Tampa International Airport). According to the University of Central Florida's Florida & Metro Forecast 2021-2024, the three fastest growing employment sectors are professional and business services (7.1%), other services (6.4%), and leisure and hospitality services (3.9%).
The metropolitan statistical area (MSA) economic indicators for Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater are expected to show relatively high growth compared to other areas in Florida. According to the University of Central Florida's Florida & Metro Forecast 2021- 2024 from March 2021, population growth will average 1.0% annually, employment growth is expected to average 2.5% annually, and the unemployment rate is expected to average 3.5% through 2024. The unemployment rate for the MSA as of April 2021 is 4.7% per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Port Tampa Bay (the "Port"), a significant economic engine in the region, accounting for an economic impact of over $18 billion, providing more than 85,000 direct and indirect jobs, and handling more than 31 million net tons of bulk cargo annually. The Port serves as the seventh largest cruise port in the U.S. and welcomed 507,920 cruise passengers during fiscal year 2020. A cut by more than half from the 1 million mark as the pandemic struck halfway through the fiscal year. Furthermore, fiscal year 2020 marked Port Tampa Bay's 75th anniversary as a state established commercial entity.
The 5,000- acre Port is home to many businesses which handled 3,234 vessels in fiscal year 2020. Port Tampa Bay is one of the nation's most diversified ports; it is the petroleum and energy gateway for West/Central Florida, the largest steel port in Florida, one of the world's premier fertilizer ports, and a major cruise line homeport. With a 43 foot-deep main channel and one of the largest shipbuilding and repair centers in the Southeast, the Port is a full-service facility for shipping lines and is the closest of Florida's full service ports to the Panama Canal. The Port also hosts North America's largest dockside cold storage terminal. More than one million square feet of warehouse/storage space is available at the Port. Proximity to Mexico, the Caribbean cruise market, and developing Central and South American markets make the Port a gateway to several destinations both, inbound and outbound. Designated as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ No. 79), Port Tampa Bay is Florida's largest cargo tonnage port. Seventy-five percent of Port cargo is inbound, and with its location on the west end of Florida's Interstate 4 corridor, the Port is ideally located to supply in-state demands for construction materials, commodities, and consumer products.
Port Tampa Bay has committed to spending $380 million through 2023, adding new cranes, refrigeration complexes, and additional infrastructure to expand its capabilities. Additionally, in June 2020, Port Tampa Bay awarded a $19.8 million grant to expand container terminals as part of the US Department of Transportation's INFRA Grant program. As Florida's population continues to increase, this grant combined with additional resources, will complement growth and address long-term logistics supply chain needs. This expansion project is one of regional and national significance, and will expand container capacity by 60 percent, increase the number of deep draft container vessels the port can receive, improve the Port's efficiency with a state-of-the-art truck gate, and improve rail access.
In addition, the Port just approved an agreement with Celadon Development Corp. to lease acreage for the construction and operation of a paper fiber manufacturing plant. The plant will have significant economic and sustainability benefits generating up to 20,000 export containers per year, creating 100 jobs and involving a capital investment of $160 million during phase one of the project. The facility will receive and process mixed paper, corrugated cardboard and plastic products sourced in Florida to produce paper fiber sheets for export. Environmental and sustainability benefits of this project include increased recycling, water re-use, and a reduction of greenhouse gases.
Tampa International Airport (TIA) is a major international and domestic airport for the west central region of Florida and is highly regarded for its efficiency and passenger convenience. During 2020, approximately 10.2 million passengers enplaned and deplaned at the airport. However, as a result of COVID-19, there was a significant decline in travel and passenger volume. In October 2020, TIA partnered with BayCare to become the first in the U.S. to offer two types of COVID-19 testing for both arriving and departing passengers. To date, more than 17,000 passengers have been tested. Airports Council International named TIA one of the most hygienic airports in North America as part of the organization's annual Airport Quality awards.
Internationally, TIA is currently offering nonstop flights to several desirable business or vacation destinations such as London, Zurich, Frankfurt, Toronto, Havana, and Cancun. This fall, TIA plans on launching flights to and from Boston, Cleveland and New York's LaGuardia Airport. Alaska Airlines will add new nonstop routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco providing travelers more direct options.
TIA is committed to designing, building, and implementing capital improvements and programs that are economically wise and environmentally and socially responsible. Over 40% of their fleet runs on alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas including their lightweight trucks, parking shuttles and employee buses, with a goal of over 70% running on alternative fuels. TIA recently completed the installation of 12 new electric vehicle charging stations for use by their travelers in various parking lots.
To accommodate TIA's continued increase in passenger traffic, TIA officials began updating the airport's Master Plan in late 2011. The three phases of the master plan will allow the airport to serve 34 million passengers each year. Tampa International Airport substantially completed the first two phases ($1.6 billion) of its master plan renovations which included the expansion of the main terminal, a new automated people mover, a new rental car center near the airport entrance. It also included a 35-acre commercial development around the rental car center featuring an office building, convenience store with gas station, hotel, and a commercial curb to accommodate transit and other ground transportation, and connections to regional trail networks. The curbside expansion includes 16 new express lanes exclusively for passengers without checked luggage. The third and final expansion phase ($840 million) will include the construction of a new Airside D with gates serving domestic and international flights as well as facilities to process international passengers. However, as a result of the negative impacts of COVID-19, TIA has delayed Phase III for four years. Already considered one of the most user friendly airports in the world by frequent flyers, the planned improvements will further enhance the airport's reputation.
Tampa continues to grow and prosper. In Fiscal Year 2020, the City permitted construction projects valued at over $4.5 billion. During Fiscal Year 2021, the City has already permitted projects valued at over $1.89 billion as of May 2021. The City anticipates $13.3 million in construction permit and enhancement fee revenues to be generated for Fiscal Year 2021. The level of construction permit revenues is the result of an increase of new construction activity and home renovations.
The City continues its commitment to economic development. There is focus on the City and region's economic leadership, stability, and most importantly, business opportunity. Today, the City is smarter about how it does business, is more efficient and accessible to citizens, and continues to streamline its permitting process. City employees work hard every day to grow and retain existing business, attract new businesses, develop entrepreneurship, and make Tampa a more competitive city through a variety of initiatives, including enhancing Workforce Development and Housing Affordability programs to ensure the City has the tools necessary to provide for all its residents across all neighborhoods and communities.
Water Street Tampa
Strategic Property Partners, LLC, in partnership with Cascade Investments, have been redeveloping approximately 50 acres in downtown Tampa. The mixed-use development includes the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, retail spaces, office buildings, a variety of residential choices, two new hotels, and a walkable neighborhood. The Water Street development is the world's first WELL-Certified city district designed with a focus on health and wellness. Construction on master infrastructure improvements, funded by property tax increment revenues, is underway and expected to be completed by early 2023.
The development's first hotel, the JW Marriott, opened in December of 2020, and when paired with the Tampa Marriott, is expected to boost the areas appeal for conventions and other large gatherings. The Heron Apartments, formerly known as 815 Water Street, are now complete and ready to be leased. The two towers rise to 26 and 21 stories respectively and comprise of 420 total residences offering sweeping views of the Tampa skyline and Hillsborough Bay. Greenwise, a full-service grocery located on the first floor, is expected to be opened by late summer of 2021. The next major phase of development is currently being planned for the former Ardent Mills site.
West River Development
The West River Redevelopment plan covers a 120-acre area bounded by Rome Avenue, Columbus Avenue, the Hillsborough River, and I-275. The plan focuses on reconnecting the street grid and increasing access to Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park and the Hillsborough River. The project promotes strong ties with public education and community services and plans for more than 1,600 new residential units, with a variety of housing styles and affordability. The administration has selected Related Urban to redevelop City-owned land. The redevelopment of the former "Rome Avenue Yard" which had served as the City's water and wastewater departments industrial yard will result in 954 mixed-income units, 30,000 square feet of commercial space, and 24,000 square feet of community space. The total estimated development costs are projected to be $263 million which will result in an economic impact of $394 million within the West Tampa area.
Midtown Tampa is a new mixed-use development project aimed at connecting Westshore to downtown. Located at the corner of Dale Mabry Highway and Cypress Street, the $500 million project spans 22 acres, creating residential units, office and retail space, and entertainment and hospitality venues. The finished project has a 3-acre central green space with a lake, recreational trail, and dog park.
Tampa-based developer, SoHo Capital, acquired the site immediately north of downtown to create a historic-style, mixed-use neighborhood called The Heights. The Heights is anchored by the restored historic Armature Works brick warehouse, now containing The Heights Public Market, an innovative market featuring an open floor plan with communal seating surrounded by restaurants, bars, multiple event spaces, and a co-shared workspace. Construction has been completed on two office buildings called The Heights Union and a large, mixed-use garage. Plans for surrounding it with offices, a boutique hotel (Moxy Hotel), grocery store (Sprouts), and 1,600- plus homes are currently underway.
The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded the City a $26 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant. The proceeds of this grant will be used towards the Tampa Multimodal Network and Safety Improvements project. This project will complete a 12.2 contiguous mile path separated from automobile traffic with the exception of enhanced crossing locations. The multimodal path will expand connections and provide a variety of safe mobility options for pedestrians and bicyclists between several opportunity zone neighborhoods to employment centers including Downtown Tampa, the University of Tampa, West Tampa, Tampa Heights, and Ybor City.
Sustainability and Resilience
In May 2020, Tampa hired its first Sustainability and Resilience Coordinator whose duties include implementing the City’s Resilience Roadmap, developing a Climate Action and Equity Plan, tackling stormwater management and sea level rise, transitioning the City to 100% renewable energy by 2045, and ensuring citywide environmental justice for all residents. On December 9, 2020, the Mayor announced the Sustainability and Resiliency Advisory Team to help with implementing the Resilience Roadmap and developing the Climate Action and Equity Plan. The Resilience Roadmap was developed through robust community engagement and with the assistance of international experts from the Resilient Cities Catalyst organization. The official Resilient Tampa Roadmap was released in 2021. There are 58 initiatives across Resilience Tampa which are included in the following major categories:
• Opportunity for all Tampanians
• Thriving Neighborhoods
• Climate-Ready Infrastructure
• Growing and Connecting City
The City received a grant to complete the LEED for Cities certification process. The program gives planners, developers and local governments a framework for implementing plans to address energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon, and accounts for social and economic indicators. Through LEED, local leaders can hone metrics around initiatives, benchmark performance relative to peers, and communicate to and educate stakeholders on progress. The technical assistance provided with the grant is valued at $75,000 to $150,000.
The City's E-Scooter program has been hugely successful and provides a low-cost method of transportation. Using E-Scooters for short-distance travel instead of cars helps to reduce unnecessary congestion and traffic, improve downtown mobility, and reduce carbon emissions.
The City is continuing its partnerships with Learning Gate Community School, the USF Patel College of Global Sustainability, and others in the Tampa Bay area environmental community celebrating EcoFest. The City is in its 8th year of this collaboration.
The Tree-Mendous Tampa Free Tree Program not only plants trees, but also includes an educational component to help residents by providing best management practices for trees. Since 2013, over 6,000 trees have been planted for residents of the City of Tampa. The program, which is funded by the Tree Trust Fund, contributes to improving the City's urban tree canopy and the City's sustainability efforts.
The City boasts over four million trees that assist in the removal of air pollutants, provide energy conservation, conserve soil and water, and bring the natural environment into the lives of Tampa residents and visitors. For four decades, the City has received the Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for it its street canopies, planning efforts, planting programs, and proven urban forestry practices, all of which reduce greenhouse gases.
Social Equity and Inclusion
The City has multiple offices and organizations ensuring equitable treatment for all. The significant involvement of the City of Tampa in human rights, socio-cultural diversity, social justice, and inclusionary issues demonstrates that the City supports social equity principles and embraces its diversity, viewing it as a positive and powerful attribute. Consequently, the City of Tampa scored a 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2019 Municipal Equality Index Scorecard. The Municipal Equality Index displays the ways that many cities can, and do, support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) people who live and work there, even where states and the federal government have failed to do so.