Community shows up to learn, ask questions about West Tampa’s Rome Yards Project

DATE: November 5, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –Plans are in the works to transform part of West Tampa. The Rome Yards Mixed-Use and Mixed-Income Development Project will bring hundreds of mixed-income homes to the Rome Yards site on North Rome Avenue, and city leaders want people to weigh in on the project.

Joseph Robinson has lived in West Tampa for almost 60 years. For a long time, he and many others in the community have fought for change. That change is coming in the form of the Rome Yards development project.

“This will do the same thing that Tom Brady did for the Bucs, we won a Super Bowl, we put us on the map,” Robinson said. “This is a cornerstone for an area that’s slum and blighted.”

The project, one city leaders call necessary, will consist of 954 residential units, 600 of which will be for workforce housing and affordable housing.

City leaders say the success of the project depends on community input. Rome Yards’ first community meeting brought out dozens Wednesday night.

“This process has been over 30 years looking to make sure we get good things in Tampa and our marginalized communities from a person who’s lived in that area,” City Councilman Orlando Gudes said.

City Councilman Orlando Gudes calls the project a game changer for District 5, his district.

“It’ll change the lives of people, change the atmosphere, changing the character, giving a sense of life to the community,” Gudes said.

The city, Tampa Housing Authority, and the developer, Related Urban Development Group set aside a minimum of $75 million in contracts for local minority-owned businesses.

Robinson, who’s been part of this process since the beginning, says this is a dream come true.

“This is the difference when you have grassroot, regular folks, community-based input that’s been suffering in a slum and blighted area,” Robinson said. “This is the result you get. They asked us what do you want.”

City leaders say there is a six-year timeline for this project.