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 Treasure Island.
It is not your average souvenir store. From the moment you walk into the Florida Shell Shop, you know you’ve arrived at a very special place.
From small ones to big ones, you'll find all sorts of seashells there. This time of year, the handmade shell Christmas trees are a top seller.
You may have driven over the Treasure Island drawbridge once or twice, maybe even hundreds of times. But, ABC Action News got a view not many get to see — from the top.
The birds-eye view atop the tower is one of the most amazing views, seeing all across this unique portion of Treasure Island and into John's Pass.
The tower, built with bullet-proof glass is made to withstand a lot. You'll even find evidence at the top that people really do shoot at it. No one's really sure why.
But it's the intricacies of how this bridge works that are sure to fascinate people.
Construction is underway in Treasure Island to transform an old building into a brand new city center.
Once complete, inside you'll find all the city offices (except police and fire) along with some community amenities.
The top floor will be rentable space for things like weddings or conferences with a 360-degree view of Treasure Island.
The Sunset Beach Pavilion on Treasure Island has it all for the perfect wedding or event — ceremony spot on the water, covered pavilion for reception and a beautiful sunset.
The site on the southern tip of Treasure Island is a popular destination for weddings.
It's owned by the city and accessible for small ceremonies on the water and receptions on the pavilion.
The Treasure Island beach walk was originally built in 1966, then widened in 1998 and then re-built in 2003 as it stands today.
No matter the time of day, you'll find people out there walking, biking or just enjoying the scenery along the nearly two-mile-long paved path.
While there are currently no plans for an expansion of the walk, Treasure Island Mayor Tyler Payne hopes for some new additions.
At Roselli Park in the Isle of Capri on Treasure Island, a local artist is working to beautify a concession stand.
Taylor Smith painted a beautiful sea turtle that was inspired by the area's dedication to conservation.
The city of Treasure Island wants your input on the Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis Facility.
It's the largest property on the island designated for recreational and park use.
The Bilmar Beach Resort opened its doors on Treasure Island back in December 1961 with just 64 rooms.
A few years later came a four-story addition, then the eight-story tower. In fact, the Bilmar was the first resort on the Gulf of Mexico to have two swimming pools.
Over the years, the property has transitioned into a condo hotel.
As they celebrate 60 years on the Island, the majority of the rooms and property have been renovated.
Just across from the Bilmar Beach Resort you'll find a small, down to Earth restaurant — VIP Mexican.
Just by the name, it's probably not what you'd expect to find on the beach. However, anything from burgers to tacos is on the menu here.
VIP Mexican has been owned by a mom and son since 1994. However, the restaurant was here years before that making it very well known in the community.
If you're looking for good drinks, good music and some friendly faces then you may have found yourself at Treasure Island's Ka'tiki before.
It's located right across from the water on the Island's Sunset Beach and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down.
Ka'Tiki has been on Treasure Island since 1982 serving up pub-style food, good drinks and live music.
The Treasure Island community makes it known they want to support locally-owned restaurants and businesses, and that's definitely the case at Salty Sisters Popcorn.
Two sisters quit their jobs and started the adventure on Treasure Island in 2018.
ABC Action News got to go inside the kitchen as they made up a batch of cheddar cheese popcorn and their famous caramel.
Chiseling, scraping and creating a masterpiece out of sand takes time and a steady hand.
“We get that, all the time, ‘I can’t even tip a bucket over without a cracking it,’” said Meredith Corson-Doubleday, who runs Sanding Ovations. “There’s a reason you have to use a lot of water — you have to compact it.”
Corson-Doubleday has been doing it for years now.
“It’s like pouring concrete,” she said. “You mix sand in water, sand and water, sand and water and compact it until you get to the top of that form and then you add another one on top of that, and another one on top of that. So the process is building it up and carving it down.”
Andrew Brettner has a million-dollar smile and great hair.
Those are solid attributes when you're an aspiring model.
The 25-year-old St. Petersburg man also has cerebral palsy, a disability not normally seen in major ad campaigns.
Tampa Bay has always been known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and now a couple of nonprofit organizations are also trying to make them the most accessible.
Some people call it a mobility mat, but not Kim Dittman, she calls it a life changer.
“I feel very independent and free just like the seagulls,” said Kim.