Tampa, the City of Today … and Tomorrow

Good morning Tampa!  Isn’t it great to live in a city with such rich culture and diverse heritage? From the saucy Latin flair of Ybor City to the magnificent homes of Bayshore, and charming Davis Islands where dog owners gather to take their pooch for a swim. What a wonderful city to be part of!

Guess what? I am now a member of MNU, the Mayor’s Neighborhood University. If it sounds like we probably meet in some stodgy building and pontificate about arcane matters, that couldn’t be further from the truth. We actually took a bus trip recently to really see and experience the City of Tampa, including lots of places I had never been before. I learned so much about the richness and diversity of our various neighborhoods.

The Mayor’s Neighborhood University is an initiative begun by our mayor, Bob Buckhorn, to encourage and promote open communications between the mayor, his administration, and the citizens of Tampa, stressing community involvement, education and developing neighborhood leadership.  If you would like to get involved, visit the city’s MNU information page.

Now that I’ve seen so many wonderful communities during my bus trip, I‘d like to brag a little about my own neighborhood, Gandy-Sun Bay South. How does the sound of “fish” strike you? I don’t mean the ones covered in ice in the grocer’s display case or wiggling at the end of the hook in a shaky boat. I prefer mine deep fried, nestled in a fresh, delicious bun. Apparently, so do a lot other hungry patrons.  Our neighborhood’s very own Nick Cruz’s Big Rays Fish Camp’s grouper sandwich has been rated #1 by appetites around the Bay Area. Look forward to his second restaurant, Tee Pee Taco, coming soon, to also tantalize your taste buds.  And, just across the street, don’t forget the iconic Interbay Meat Market, or what we like to call the “Green Store.” The day starts early with made to order breakfast and lunch and dinner is always hot, fresh, and fast. I rate the burgers some of the best around!

If you’re a city slicker with a taste for down home country, my neighborhood has you covered. There is actually a fully functioning five (5) acre farm, South Tampa Farm, that does things the old fashion way. Its owner of more than thirty (30) years, bee keeper, cattle and chicken rancher, Marion Lambert, disagrees with people who don’t think that South Tampa is the ideal location for him.

In a quote from baysoundings.com, he defends his choice of location, noting that “This is the land of milk and honey” and adds, “it’s a wonderful place for bees.” His 160 hives and between 20,000 and 100,000 honey bees, besides the cattle and chickens, apparently agree. Now here’s the real kicker; although he sells most of his honey and produce wholesale, the community is invited to share fresh milk, eggs, and honey using the old fashion honor system. Just slide a ten-dollar bill into the box and take home a quart of honey.

We are also home to World Nations and their Patriots. Senior officers from around the world who live in our neighborhood, collaborate with staff at MacDill Airforce base. Each year, the community is invited by Cent Com (Central Command) to visit one of the hangars and enjoy some delicious international cuisine.

As interesting as my neighborhood is, I bet yours is just as inviting, if you just take the time to look. Don’t forget the Mayor’s Neighborhood University initiative. Now get out there and meet your neighbors!