Palmetto Beach getting $30M to help revitalize community

Major changes are coming to a small Tampa community following the approval of $30 million to revitalize Palmetto Beach, city leaders announced Monday morning.

During a news conference in DeSoto Park, Mayor Jane Castor and U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced, what's being called, the Pathway to Palmetto project.

"Conserving and improving access to miles and miles of waterfront space for generations of champions to enjoy is priceless," Mayor Castor said. "Palmetto beach is home to some of Tampa's most vulnerable residents. It's within an area of persistent poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And it is an area that, over the years, as you can see by the Bermuda Boulevard behind us, has gradually declined and due to the deteriorating infrastructure, has become disconnected from important transportation networks in our city."

The community will receive about $24 million from the federal government through its Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE, program. An additional $6 million will come from the City of Tampa.

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The funds will go toward rebuilding the collapsing seawall along McKay Bay, which struggles to protect the area from flooding.

It'll also be used for road improvements along Bermuda Boulevard, 26th and 22nd Streets and new sidewalks, traffic signals and parking.

"All of our neighbors deserve to be uplifted and have safer streets and have sidewalks that are ADA compliant," said U.S. Rep. Castor, D-Hillsborough, adding securing this funding was a long time coming for this community.

"We're going to get those investors that now want to come into Palmetto Beach that were maybe hesitant before because now the infrastructure's there, now the sidewalks will be there, the safety crossings will be there, the lights and business will come in," said Tom Reynolds, whose family has lived in Palmetto Beach for five generations. "That's going to make all the difference in the world to try to revitalize this back to its heyday."

The project is expected to take five years to complete.


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