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It's a Good Morning to be in West Tampa

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Posted at 4:55 AM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2023-04-07 09:57:53-04

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 West Tampa.

Complete Coverage: GBTB Local Spotlight


Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center offers community programming in West Tampa

More than six years ago, the Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center (JCC) officially opened in West Tampa.

Today, it's home to a huge amount of programming. That includes the Mezrah Aquatic Center, a state-of-the-art fitness center with adult and kids activities.

It's open to those of all faiths and beliefs. They hold events, weddings and proms, and they're also home to the City of Tampa art classes.

Bryan Glazer Jewish Community Center offers community programming in West Tampa

Pickford’s Sundries provides nostalgic feel more than 70 years after opening

Pickford’s Sundries is in West Tampa and originally opened back in 1949. Although it has been restored and revitalized under new ownership, not much has changed here since the early 1950s.

“If you walked back here in the 40s, 50s, 70s and 80s, it looks the same,” explained David Hansen, the owner of Pickford’s Sundries.

Pickford’s Sundries still has that nostalgic feel from the moment you walk in. That's because Hansen preserved as much of the establishment as possible when he bought it from the Pickford family three years ago.

Pickford’s Sundries provides nostalgic feel more than 70 years after opening

West Tampa business hopes to help make your meal prep a little easier

A West Tampa business is hoping to make your day a little easier, at least when it comes to meals.

FitEx Meals is a family-owned business that is doing meal prep for you.

FitEx offers portion-controlled meals and all are about 400-500 calories.

West Tampa business hopes to help make your meal prep a little easier

Hillsborough County Commissioner works to bring African American Arts & Cultural Center to West Tampa

West Tampa native and Hillsborough County Commissioner Gwen Myers is leading the charge to build an African American Arts and Cultural Center in the community.

The plans call for the demolition of the West Tampa Neighborhood Resource Center on Rome Avenue.

Currently, Hillsborough County doesn't have a facility like this, and with the transformation plans for West Tampa, Myers said this is the perfect fit.

Hillsborough County Commissioner works to bring African American Arts & Cultural Center to West Tampa

MacFarlane Park neighborhood experiencing 'renaissance'

Take a stop at the community's most precious gem, MacFarlane Park. It was a gift from Hugh MacFarlane, who can be considered the father of West Tampa.

These nearly 40 acres will always remain a park that includes a walking trail, playground, and courts.

"So West Tampa is not just a place. It's an adjective; it's a verb. It's a way to describe the way we live, the way we grew up. Mostly people from West Tampa love to talk about their childhood memories because they're so special. It's neighbors, it's front porches, it's, you know, Sunday afternoons, it's just a good fee."

MacFarlane Park neighborhood experiencing 'renaissance'

West River development continues to make progress

Plans to expand the Riverwalk on the west side of the river are a catalyst for development in West Tampa.

The Tampa Housing Authority is building new housing in the area.

Currently, more than 800 units are already occupied, with more under construction.

West River development continues to make progress

West Tampa's family-owned Cacciatore and Sons dedicated to meeting needs of community for more than 100 years

Walk into West Tampa's Cacciatore and Sons and you will almost immediately feel like family.

This is a West Tampa staple.

"Growing up in the stores just it's a blessing because I get to be with my family and with the customers that we love so much. And it's just a great community. And I can't be happier to be here with with with everybody," said Angelo Cacciatore.

West Tampa's family-owned Cacciatore and Sons dedicated to meeting needs of community for more than 100 years

Dress For Success celebrates 25 years

Over the past 25 years, the West Tampa nonprofit organization Dress for Success has inspired and empowered more than 25,000 women.

Everyday Dress For Success provides a variety of services with the ultimate goal of finding gainful employment.

In celebration of its 25th year, Dress for Success has put out a special calendar, “Changing Women’s Lives One Story At a Time.”

Dress For Success celebrates 25 years

Family works to bring historic West Tampa cigar factory back to life, including 100-year-old clock tower

“This building was built in 1908," explains Ted Boscaino.

The Boscaino family purchased an original cigar factory in West Tampa, once the largest light cigar factory in the country. It was once home to Y. Pendas y Alvarez cigars.

Family works to bring historic West Tampa cigar factory back to life, including 100-year-old clock tower

Cigar company pays homage to West Tampa history

Luring workers from Ybor City, West Tampa was once known for cigar factories and became home to many of their workers.

Today, a West Tampa native is hoping to pay homage to not just the communities history but his own family.

Ricky Rodriguez and his co-founder launched West Tampa Tobacco Company last year.

Cigar company pays homage to West Tampa history

West Tampa is the new boom town

Locals know West Tampa as incredibly diverse; The Chamber of Commerce agrees.

The Chamber of Commerce has been in West Tampa for 100 years, starting as a small group of cigar factory entrepreneurs.

ABC Action News spoke to the Chamber of Commerce about bridging West Tampa and its businesses together.

West Tampa is the new boom town

West Fortune Fish Market is a favorite for locals in West Tampa

Walk along West Main Street in West Tampa and stop by the West Fortune Fish Market or, as locals call it, “the crab place on Main.”

The West Fortune Fish Market has thrived since the Nguyen family took it over in 2022.

Today the market is commonly known by locals for its garlic-butter entrees, fresh fish and seafood.

West River development continues to make progress

Jesuit High School remains an upstanding school 124 years later

First known as Sacred Heart College in Downtown Tampa, Jesuit High School was founded in 1899.

Jesuit relocated to Himes Avenue in 1956 and has grown in this community ever since.

Today, it has nearly 900 high school students and remains one of the only schools in the state that is an all-male catholic school.

Jesuit High School remains an upstanding school 124 years later

West Tampa Sandwich Shop attracts culturally diverse crowd

Former President Barack Obama stopped by the West Tampa Sandwich Shop in 2012.

He ordered a Cuban sandwich with honeyed bread.

The stuffed salty-sweet sandwich, fully loaded with lettuce and tomato too, was quickly renamed "the Obama."

'The Obama' Cuban sandwich brings all walks of life into the iconic West Tampa Sandwich Shop

Tampa city leaders looking at plans for nearly 5-mile expansion of Riverwalk

Tampa city leaders are looking to the future of the Riverwalk, beyond the scenic stroll to better connect communities.

Delphine Jones has seen the changes in Tampa through the years. She’s born and raised in West Tampa.

“The growth exploded,” said Jones.

'Hot oil' pizza at the new Colony Grill spices up the food scene at Midtown Tampa

One of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the bay area, Midtown Tampa features swanky apartments, a Whole Foods grocery story, elite retail, even a posh hotel.

But what Midtown, a relatively new concept now serving 4,000 residents and visitors a day, needed most was a warm cozy center, a hangout for everyone.

Business owners say high crime in West Tampa may change their plans

The West Tampa area has seen its fair share of plight over the years, but it has also seen a sense of resurgence.

However, the question remains, even with new businesses making a home along areas like west Main Street, is the crime in the area worth the revamp?

People who work in the area say they don't know.

West Tampa housing project expected to begin in about 6 months

Growth continues in the city of Tampa.

Plans are moving forward with the Rome Yard project along the West Tampa Riverfront.

Abbye Feeley is the Deputy Administer of Development and Growth Management with the city and said the project will house 18 acres of opportunities.

Historic little league club in West Tampa embraces next chapter under new leadership

Little league will always be special to Nilses Vera. It's part of her identity, and it's what welcomed her to the United States.

“So, when I actually immigrated to the United States, I was alone, and I was an only child — and I was alone. And I also didn’t speak English," Vera remembered. “I felt accepted 100% for who I was.”

Now, years later, she wants to bring that same warm feeling to kids who play for the historic West Tampa Little League, which is located on N. Jamaica St. near MacFarlane Park in West Tampa.

Historic little league club in West Tampa embraces next chapter under new leadership