|Tampa, FL – The Planning Commission is proud to announce the winners of our 39th Annual Planning & Design Awards, presented by TECO. This celebration of excellence in planning and design in Hillsborough County was held at The Gathering at Armature Works on Wednesday, October 27, 2021. Our annual awards program aligns with the many national festivities held during the American Planning Association’s National Community Planning Month. Established in 2006, #PlanningMonth highlights the role of planners and the importance of good planning in our communities. Award winners were selected by a panel of distinguished judges from outside of Hillsborough County. Photographs of the event and award winners can be viewed in an album on the Planning Commission’s facebook page.|
|Thank you, Roxanne Wilder!Co-host of Q105’s MJ Morning Show, Roxanne Wilder, our Master of Ceremonies for the evening, presented five Awards of Merit, three Awards of Excellence, three Awards of Outstanding Contribution to the Community, and one Jan Abell Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community in the Historic Preservation category.|
|Jan Abell Award|
|The Jan Abell Award was created in 2001 by the Planning Commission to recognize Outstanding Contribution above others in the Historic Preservation Category. Jan Abell was a local, passionate preservationist who successfully saved some of Tampa’s and Florida’s most important buildings.|
|Tampa Heights Elementary Magnet School|
|Historic Preservation & Investment Categories|
|Built in 1906 by community volunteers, Tampa Heights Elementary was first known as Michigan Avenue Grammar School and later Lee Elementary School. |
In the wake of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, a failure in the building’s electrical system sparked a fire that destroyed much of the original building.
As part of the rebuilding process, multiple workshops were held to involve the community, teachers, parents, and students. Referencing old postcards, photographs, and laser scans of the fire-ravaged structure, the design team set to work restoring the 1906 school to its former glory. The school’s brickwork was painstakingly taken down one-by-one, cataloged, stored, and reinstalled with the supporting structural skeleton.
Sustainable initiatives were woven into the redesigned site with sidewalks that now wrap the perimeter and offer improved pedestrian and bicycle connections for students living within the community.
Flexible learning environments were added including an outdoor classroom, a multi-purpose room with a stage, and a community garden. The three-story school is also equipped with reading nooks, collaboration zones, writable surfaces, display areas, a media center, and STEM classrooms.
The judges loved the great care taken in the preservation of this iconic civic building and the seamless integration of its historic aspects with new architectural details. This school is an exemplary model of how to sensitively preserve and adapt a historic building as a tremendous investment and a modernized community legacy.
|Awards of Outstanding Contribution to the Community|
|Humane Society of Tampa Bay|
|Participation, Investment & Environmental Categories|
|DeBartolo DevelopmentKevin Hart & AssociatesThomas Everett Lamb Design & DevelopmentSherry Silk, CEO for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay|
|As a no-kill shelter, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay provides a vital role in the community of helping stray, lost, and rescued animals in need of care and a loving home. Founded in 1912, the Humane Society has been at its West Tampa location since 1928.|
To better serve the needs of homeless animals and answer the increasing needs of the community, they undertook the huge task of constructing a new building, more than doubling the size of the previous facility to 50,000 square feet. The Humane Society has been transformed into a modern shelter that provides advanced medical care and a sense of home for animals during their stay.
The new and improved facility features doggie play yards, community cat rooms and private cat condos, a rabbit resort, puppy and kitten nurseries, dedicated farm animal space, an isolation area for sick animals, exam room with lab equipment, and private adoption rooms. Much more than just an animal shelter, it is also a space that serves to educate and engage the community in their new education center equipped audio-visual in rental spaces for private events and meetings.
As a bonus, event and meeting space rentals will continue ongoing program funding. Built sustainably, the building is now equipped with efficient HVAC and water management systems, motion sensor LED lighting, irrigation and grey water cleaning using on-site water wells and pumps, and a three-story atrium that saves energy and provides ample natural light.
The judges felt their amazingly successful fundraising was a testament to their solid planning and the community’s confidence in the important care and service the Humane Society provides.
|Lesley “Les” Miller Junior All People’s Community Park and Life Center Adaptive Playground|
|Entertainment, Environmental & Participation Categories|
|Hillsborough County Board of County CommissionersHillsborough County Parks and RecreationHillsborough County Affordable Housing|
|Located in an at-risk community, the Life Center Adaptive Playground is a place that empowers kids of all abilities to play together. |
One of the playgrounds’ key champions was Rebecca “Becki” Forsell, who suddenly lost her site in a car accident and was the founder of Yes! Of America United, an organization that works to engage and empower people with disabilities. Sadly, Becki passed away in 2019, but her dream of creating a playground where a child with a disability would not feel held back was finally realized this summer.
The million-dollar playground replaced the 15 year old, outdated structure which led to a 45% increase in visits to the facility since June. An important element of the playground is ease of accessibility. Many of the play structures include ramps or transfer units that allow for visitors to go from wheelchair to play and back again with ease.
Synthetic turf was used to meet ADA standards, offering a cleaner environment for children to play and caregivers to relax.
The playground is part of Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation’s plan to continue building “destination parks” designed to serve a greater population than just the surrounding neighborhood and featuring play areas for kids of all abilities.
Many of the play structures are close to the ground, allowing greater ease of access for children and caregivers unable to climb structures. The judges felt the playground was an important addition to the community and a great model for future parks to emulate.
|University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine + Heart Institute|
|Investment, Redevelopment & Environmental Categories|
|USF Health Morsani College of Medicine + Heart Institute + Taneja College of PharmacyUSF Facilities ManagementHOK Inc.Skanska USA Building Inc.|
|Serving 1,800 students, faculty, and researchers, the facility is strategically located within minutes from Tampa General Hospital and the USF Center for Advanced Medical Simulation. |
After five years of design and construction, the 13‐story building opened in Downtown Tampa in January this year and is attracting the best in medical education and research.
The 395,000 square foot facility is expected to generate over $70 million in local, regional, and statewide economic impact, as well as increase research funding, create new jobs, and attract biotech companies to the region.
In its final steps of being certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED Silver, this project is also part of Strategic Property Partners in the creation of the first WELL Community on the planet. The state-of-the-art building also serves the surrounding area by providing spaces for accessible medical care, promoting a walkable community by connecting the Tampa Riverwalk, Harbor Island, Sparkman Wharf, and other areas.
It features a public plaza with ample greenspace, water features, and public artwork. Inside, a coffee bar and café on the second floor operated by local small businesses are open to the public and has the capability of catering food into the auditorium, which is available for public events and rentals.
The judges loved this cutting-edge, iconic building that is literally an art piece in Downtown Tampa’s skyline. They were extremely impressed with how this project went above and beyond in all aspects of the beautiful, sustainable, and multi-functional design, complete with multi-modal accessibility and praised it as a stunning investment in our community and region.
|Awards of Excellence|
|1017 E Columbus Drive|
|Historic, Environmental & Redevelopment Categories|
|Bryon Lippincott(allegedly) design|
|As an existing structure within the Barrio Latino National Historic District, the revitalization of this historic building that once housed a gas station, aims to repurpose the vacant and decaying structure into a valuable asset for the neighborhood. |
While the property is no longer used as an auto service station, minimal changes to the defining characteristics of the building were allowed to maintain the identity of the historic purpose of the site as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Central to the design was planting street facing landscape with resilient plant species.
Removing large areas of broken concrete and replenishing the site with native flora and fauna will establish a living organism that over time, will help produce a resilient, low-maintenance natural eco-system. 1017 E Columbus Drive brilliantly demonstrates how developers can create more walkable, pedestrian-friendly cities through user-centric design solutions.
This micro-environment will develop over time from a simple planting bed into a more dense and complete urban garden and reintroduce birds, bees, and critters that are also vital to the natural order and maintenance of healthy ecosystems. The judges loved this eco-friendly plan to preserve and invest in our community.
They were impressed with the beautiful adaptive reuse of the existing structure and the commitment to reducing the hardscape by infusing local flora and fauna, providing a semi-public garden for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy while preserving, protecting, and re-establishing natural spaces in the urban area.
|Hyde Park Village|
|Entertainment & Redevelopment Categories|
|WS Development acquired Hyde Park Village in 2013 and began redeveloping the property through a collaborative effort with the City of Tampa, Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood Associations, and other partners. Blending modern architecture, European-inspired detail, and high-end outdoor shopping in this Tampa historic area, Hyde Park Village is home to a unique combination of retail shops and restaurants, spanning over 270,000 square feet. |
By narrowing the roadway, they were able to widen the pedestrian sidewalks and add additional on-street metered parking to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment. WS Development worked with Connor Landscape Architects, Kisinger Campo & Associates, and an arborist to preserve the dying oak and elm trees which line the streets. In the process, more than 100 dying trees were replaced.
Other amenities were added including benches, community tables, bike racks, trash receptacles, pet waste stations, a little free library, and multiple art installations. Hyde Park Village has been transformed into lifestyle area unlike any other in the region and hosts over one hundred sixty community events each year, many of which are planned in partnership with community organizations.
The judges commended the amount of time, attention, and money that went into revitalizing the village and bringing it back to its full potential, while being community sensitive every step of the way. By breathing new life into Hyde Park Village, its sense of place in this activity and shopping center transcends the immediate neighborhood to a great source of Tampa pride.
|Sadye Gibbs Martin Community Center|
|Entertainment & Participation Categories|
|The City of Plant CityPlant City Mayor Rick LottThe Plant City City CommissionThe Lunz GroupTrias Construction|
|After Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, the former Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center was determined to be beyond repair, so the City of Plant City decided to start fresh. |
A Citizens Advisory Committee of local stakeholders was established to assist in the design and garner input from the public.
The new community center was ultimately named after Sadye Gibbs Martin, who served as the mayor of Plant City and was the first African American female mayor in the state of Florida.
The brand new 30,000 square foot building features a gymnasium for sports and large events, multipurpose meeting rooms for activities equipped with audio-visual technology, LED lighting, and energy efficient climate control.
Various classes, and an after-school and summer program provide recreational opportunities for all ages. The gymnasium is a daily gathering area for residents young and old, and the facility has hosted several community events since opening in August 2020.
As a result of the thoughtful planning process and sustainable design, the judges felt this community center serves as a great model for others to look towards. They applauded this wonderful addition to Plant City by designing a true center of activity for all generations with and for the entire community.
|Awards of Merit|
|C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library|
|Investment & Participation Categories|
|Located northeast of Downtown Tampa, the new C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. Public Library replaced the old College Hill Branch Library in 2019. |
The building was named in honor of civic leader and advocate Cyril Blythe Andrews, Jr., who passed away in 2010. Mr. Andrews and his family played a pivotal role in acquiring the land on which the library sits and donated numerous book collections and volunteer hours over the years.
A well-thought-out program by Hillsborough County Library Services with input from the community and the Friends of the Library resulted in the state-of-the-art facility providing the community with a variety of user-friendly spaces and tools. Residents not only have a destination for reading and checking out materials, but also a place for community meetings, tutoring, computer use, and a safe place for kids to hang out.
The judges commended the team’s preservation of a grand oak tree located on the property.
With beautiful design, attention to detail, and inviting and colorful spaces for the children, this new library truly serves the entire community.
|IDEA Victory Vinik Campus|
|Investment & Redevelopment Categories|
|IPS EnterprisesProject Management Services Inc.Rowe Architects IncorporatedCertified General Contractors|
|The IDEA Victory Vinik Campus is a perfect example of an adaptive reuse project that took an existing dilapidated commercial space long ignored by investors and turned it into a beacon for the community. |
Located at the southeastern intersection of I-275 and Fowler Avenue, this tuition-free K-12 Charter School transformed a rundown former grocery store and flea market strip mall into a point of neighborhood pride. At full capacity, the school will serve about 1,500 students from the surrounding under-served neighborhoods.
The IDEA program sets high expectations for every student and goes the extra mile to make sure every student realizes their full potential. Personalized learning, critical thinking skills, and mastery of core subjects is their recipe for success that has produced a legacy of sending 100% of its graduates to college.
Creating a school that raises the bar for student success while reimagining what was a neighborhood eyesore is an enormous boon not only for the IDEA Victory students, but also for the entire community.
The judges were inspired by how this campus serves the surrounding community and revitalizes an area that been underserved for a long time, which makes this tremendous investment a clear Victory for our entire community!
|Lucy Dell Community Pond|
|Participation, Environmental & Entertainment Categories|
|Hillsborough County Board of County CommissionersHillsborough County Parks and Recreation|
|For decades, this area existed as a stormwater runoff pond and was also a popular spot for illegal dumping and other illicit activities, resulting in an unhealthy environment and eyesore for the surrounding communities. Looking at the Lucy Dell Community Pond now, it’s hard to believe it came from such beginnings. The $3.5 million project has transformed the area into a safe and natural urban green space for residents to enjoy. |
Thoughtful design incorporated extensive community input to create a beautiful pond with the added perk of increasing surrounding property values. It also features a walking trail with fitness zones, a boardwalk over the water, and construction of a new road connecting two neighborhoods.
The wetland area was significantly expanded and planted with native vegetation to aid in filtering out harmful nutrients and provides additional habitat space for the wood stork, ibis, and roseate spoonbill. The judges saw this as a transformative initiative that now provides a natural refuge and inspires healthy activity in an under-served community.
They were particularly impressed with the extensive public participation that included a task group, numerous public workshops to get input from the neighborhood, and years of planning to create this community treasure.
|Riverview Public Library|
|Investment & Environmental Categories|
|Providing educational, recreational, and social opportunities in a child-friendly environment, the Riverview Public Library fosters a general sense of place for the whole community. |
Opened in 2020, the new 35,000 square foot building is one of the three largest libraries in the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System and features architecture inspired by the Old Florida history of the surrounding area. Beyond access to books, the library offers a recording studio with editing suites, maker space, covered and screened-in reading porches, a children’s area, a Friends of the Library bookstore, and state-of-the-art technology throughout.
The library features several sustainable initiatives, including the use of native, drought-resistant plants, electric vehicle charging stations, and solar panels for a renewable energy source. Art was incorporated into the interior and exterior with a terrazzo floor mural, stained glass windows, carved stone benches, and a walking path located on the grounds.
The judges loved the light and spacial experience. Impressed with the beautiful design and the community engagement component, they viewed it is a haven for the community and a great source of community pride.
|Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Selmon West Extension|
|Investment & Participation Categories|
|Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA)|
|Over the last 25 years, the Florida Department of Transportation had looked for a solution to reduce congestion on Gandy Boulevard in South Tampa. |
This project required giving the community a different type of solution – an elevated toll lane located in the median of the boulevard that did not disturb businesses or homes. Completed earlier this year, the Selmon West Extension is a 1.9 mile elevated extension of an existing tolled expressway.
At 30 feet tall, the bridge was designed to be twice the height of standard bridges to allow clear visibility on the ground on either side of the project. The team took a grassroots approach with ongoing community outreach, surveys, Chamber of Commerce partnerships, and neighborhood associations to ensure they were listening and responding to the needs of community stakeholders.
They created an award-winning marketing campaign called “Shop Gandy!” to drive customers to the businesses in the shopping district before, during, and after construction. Innovative design-build solutions laid the groundwork for a bridge that now gives pass-through traffic a direct route between Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. The project also increased capacity on Gandy Boulevard for neighborhood traffic and customers by more than 44%. Toll revenues and bonds fully funded the project without using any taxpayer dollars.
The judges viewed the Selmon West Extension as a significant regional link for businesses, freight, people and as a critical hurricane evacuation route. They praised the extensive engagement with residents and local businesses to tailor the project to the community’s needs like raising the elevated bridge to maintain sight lines on both sides of the expressway.
|Special Recognition Awards|
|Three special awards were presented that were not selected by our jury.|
|Hillsborough River Stewardship AwardSouth Seminole Heights Civic Association|
|Each year, the Hillsborough River River Interlocal Planning Board & Technical Advisory Council recognize leadership and dedication in the protection of the health and well-being of the Hillsborough River. Hillsborough River Board Vice Chair, Tampa Councilman Joseph Citro presented the 2021 Hillsborough River Stewardship Award to the South Seminole Heights Civic Association. |
The civic association is a non-partisan organization of community residents and business partners representing the South Seminole Heights neighborhood. In 2019 they created the Neighborhood Art Trail featuring murals, paintings, and sculptures by local artists, becoming the first neighborhood in Tampa to implement the City’s Stormwater’s Environmental Educational Art Inlet Painting Program.
The art trail is anchored with a street mural by Rivercrest Park and stretches outward along North Boulevard and North River Boulevard, where local artists were selected to repurpose stormwater inlets with bright, vibrant paintings as a reminder to residents that what goes into the storm drains will enter a river, lake, or Tampa Bay.
This led to a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to expand the street art trail with ten to twelve additional installations. Many people do not realize that storm drains don’t connect to the City of Tampa wastewater treatment plant, and some areas have stormwater runoff that discharge directly into surface waters without receiving any treatment to filter pollutants.
By marking the storm drains with unique art and plaques stenciled with environmental messages, the artwork beautifies the neighborhood and serves as a daily reminder that stormwater runoff from the street drains directly into the river without treatment.
Thank you to the South Seminole Heights Civic Association for your artful approach and continued commitment to protecting the quality of our water and the health of our environment and our beautiful Hillsborough River.
|Chairman’s AwardUniversity Area Cultural Campus|
|Traction ArchitectureWide Open OfficeUniversity Area Community Development Corporation|
|The Chair of the Planning Commission selects a project each year. This year, Chair Nigel Joseph honored the University Area Cultural Campus with the Chairman’s Award. Located in the heart of the University Area and adjacent to Harvest Hope Park, the Cultural Campus is a proposed development consisting of community spaces, cultural programs, and affordable housing. |
The design encourages walkability, fosters a sense of place, and incorporates a diverse range of programs that together give residents access to spaces and services that allow them to thrive. As part of the four-phase project, a metal warehouse will be transformed into a dynamic space where residents may access a variety of educational and cultural programs. A new twelve thousand square foot Cultural Center building will activate N 20th Street with commercial storefronts that provide employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for community members as well as access to goods and services.
A plaza will tie the campus together with spaces for gatherings and events. On the north side of the campus, affordable townhomes will serve families of various sizes and incomes. A courtyard, along with front porches, sidewalks and street lighting will connect the campus to Harvest Hope Park and contribute to an active and safe streetscape that prioritizes the experience of residents, many of whom do not own cars.
The campus will include a diverse range of programs such as educational workshops, prodigy art classes, Get Moving fitness classes, financial advising, literacy training, healthcare services, immigration services, and legal counseling, as well as a café and commercial storefront spaces for small local businesses. As an extension of the success of Harvest Hope Park, the Cultural Campus will serve as both a model and a catalyst for continued walkable, urban development in the district.
The campus will put people first, as it addresses the many needs of the local community. This plan offers a blueprint to activate real change that empowers people with the tools needed for a better quality of life.
|Executive Director’s AwardCity of Tampa Lights on Tampa | Circles Unity|
|Jane Castor, City of Tampa MayorRobin Nigh, Arts & Cultural AffairsRob Rosner, Economic OpportunityUna Garvey, Tampa Convention Center|
|Planning Commission Executive Director Melissa Zornitta presented the 2021 Executive Director’s Award to the City of Tampa’s Circles Unity installation. Circles Unity is part of Lights on Tampa, a public-private partnership between the City of Tampa’s Art Programs Division and the Public Art Alliance which has brought artistic excellence to Tampa’s Downtown since 2006. Artist Erwin Redl was selected to create the gateway experience inside the Channelside Drive Tunnel. |
The Circles Unity light installation is a series of aluminum rings housing custom-built LED lights, programmed together as a synchronized ensemble. Illuminating the tunnel walls with unique color sequences that fade seamlessly into each other, Circles Unity provides unique views from every position while passing through the tunnel by car, bicycle, scooter, or on foot.
This gateway from South Tampa creates a smooth transition from the Tampa Riverwalk and Convention Center to Water Street and connects downtown to the surrounding neighborhoods. Circles Unity also brings a traffic calming element and improves safety for pedestrians and cyclists through its twenty four hour a day illumination.
Additional site improvements included removing the dated wall pack lights, painting the columns to a modernized grey, and installing new pedestrian lighting on each of the columns. Commissioned by the City of Tampa and funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the project was installed right before Tampa served as host to Super Bowl LV in February this year. (Go Bucs!)
Thanks to Lights on Tampa, pedestrians and other passers-by are free to appreciate and enjoy the new safety features and artistic experience of the tunnel. Circles Unity has seamlessly blended stunning art with pedestrian and bicycle safety in a unique transportation lighting project.
|Thank You Sponsors|
|presenting sponsorTampa Electric & Peoples Gasinnovator sponsorTampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority|
|The Planning Commission’s annual Planning & Design Awards program ispaid for entirely through project entry fees, ticket sales, and sponsorships. Thank you to our incredible sponsors for your support of excellence inplanning and design contributing to the quality of life in our community!|
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