At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.
On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on New Tampa.
Emergency response times have been an ongoing issue in New Tampa. With a population surge in New Tampa, the fire department is getting more calls for help than ever before.
“Statistically, the fire department responds to more calls for service every year,” said President of Tampa Firefighters Local 754, Andrew Carter.
How long it takes Tampa Fire Rescue to respond is a major concern for people that live in New Tampa.
To say 17-year-old Haleigh Self is popular at Wharton High School would be an understatement.
She's practically a celebrity — her pictures decorate the walls of Wharton's Hall of Fame.
Basketball, flag football, softball and track. She's an academic superstar, as well. Her weighted GPA is 5.8, which makes her a candidate for the High School Heisman award.
New Tampa is a diverse community full of different cultures.
But, there was one thing New Tampa, and even all of Tampa Bay, didn't have. That's when four friends from Nepal decided to do something about it.
New Tampa's locally owned coffee shop, Coffee Speaks N Tea Talks, is a dream for owner Arlene Brooks.
Brooks opened the shop in 2019, right before the pandemic forced her to close.
A playground for everyone is in the works in the New Tampa area.
It will be called the All Abilities Playground, meaning no matter someone's ability, they can still take part in all the fun of a playground.
Controversy continues over the Pebble Creek Golf Course in New Tampa.
The course closed last year after, according to court documents, the owner said it was struggling to stay afloat.
The diversity in New Tampa is evident in many ways. You can see it from all the different types of food to the people. But, what makes it even more unique are all the different religious groups that are practicing in this community.
“It’s a very diversified community," said Pam Plazak, a St. Mark Parishioner.
"It helps me if I'm having a rough day to remind myself, alright, put your passion first or live to give or attitude of gratitude, like, things aren't so bad. And to remind myself, this school has such a good atmosphere and the students all have so much love to give. It's just, it's just a wonderful place to work here," said Stephanie Scheno, Art Teacher at Heritage Elementary.
Live to Give. That's what the mural at Heritage Elementary is supposed to represent. Scheno and her students created the mural last year after one of the seven mindsets.
Construction is almost complete at the New Tampa Performing Arts Center.
The center will be 20,000 sq. ft. with room to expand an additional 10,000 sq. ft later down the road.
New Tampa has never had a home for its arts and entertainment groups, like the New Tampa Players.
Since it opened years ago, the New Tampa Recreation Center continues to be a popular spot for families, especially those with kids in gymnastics and ballet.
The waitlist never ends.
As soon you step foot into Brian Nanns' classroom at Freedom High School, you'll notice it's not your typical class. In fact, some may say it's the future.
"We want to prepare students for the next level, whatever that may be in their life, whether it's college or some sort of career, right out of college, right out of high school, we want to make sure they're ready for it. And whatever industry that may be," said Brian Nanns, Dept. Chair for Career and Technical Education at Freedom High School.
Freedom High is home to the New Tampa Digital Academy, preparing kids for the digital workforce.
New Tampa is another area of Hillsborough County that is continuing to grow, and fast.
With all of the construction, getting in and out of some neighborhoods can be a challenge.
In the heart of the New Tampa suburbs, you'll find a popular place for walkers, mountain bikers and everything in between, including Florida wildlife.
Flatwoods Park is one of nine sites in the Wilderness Park system in Hillsborough County.
Hillsborough County leaders are taking on some renovations at Branchton Park in Thonotosassa.
They're hoping to make the park a regional destination.
The site of a former Sweetbay grocery store in New Tampa is going to turn into the popular Lotte Plaza Market Asian Grocery Store.
The company confirms they will be opening a location off Bruce B. Downs but did not elaborate on any sort of timeline.