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It's a Good Morning to be in Ybor

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Posted at 4:54 AM, Mar 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-25 05:02:15-04

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 Ybor.

Complete Coverage: GMTB Local Spotlight


Walking Club: Explore Ybor City by taking a walking tour

Go beyond the bars by exploring historic Ybor City on a walking tour.

Ybor City Food Tours give you a taste of the historic area

If you're interested in Ybor's rich history and like good food, we found just the tour for you.

Ybor City Food Tours will take you around the city introducing you to key landmarks, historical figures and how Ybor came to be.

In between all of that, you'll stop at various restaurants that highlight Ybor's German, Italian, Cuban, and Spanish immigrants.

Ybor City Museum Society helps preserve areas rich history

If you're looking to find out more about Ybor's rich history, look no further than the Ybor City Museum Society.

There's a 45-minute tour of the city's past at the Ybor City Museum State Park. It's in the old Ferlita Bakery, an Italian bakery that was rebuilt after a fire in 1923.

Inside J.C. Newman, America's oldest family-owned premium cigar factory

If you've ever driven along I-4 near Ybor City you've probably noticed the sign, "Home of Cuesta Rey Cigars."

J.C. Newman Cigars is America's oldest family-owned premium cigar maker.

The building is 111-years-old and on the National Register of Historic Places and for good reason.

Right on 7th Avenue, the Italian Club helps honor Tampa's Italian history

A walk on 7th Avenue in Ybor City is full of history, especially in one of the most historic buildings.

The Italian Club sits proudly on 7th Avenue, it was founded in 1894 as a mutual aid society. It was one of many clubs that was created for immigrants to get help with healthcare, a job or even a mortgage.

The library was a place where many immigrants, no matter their nationality, could come learn to read and write in English.

Efforts underway to restore Ybor's historic Cuban Club

Cuban immigrants came to Ybor for jobs in the cigar factories. Back then, Ybor was thriving off the cigar industry.

A group of Cuban immigrants created El Circulo Cubano or "Circle of Cubans," a mutual aid society to help fellow immigrants. The Cuban Club was used as not just a place for people to gather and make friends but also as a place for help.

La Gaceta, America's only trilingual newspaper, celebrates 100 years in Ybor

For 100 years La Gaceta has been delivering the area's news in three different languages.

Today, it remains the nation's only trilingual newspaper. La Gaceta is printed in Spanish, Italian and English.

The paper was founded in 1922 by Victoriano Manteiga. It's now published by his grandson.

Ybor City Chamber focuses on preserving areas past but plans for future

For 92 years the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce has been helping business owners and residents connect.

"Ybor is a phenomenal place, anywhere from the history of Ybor, to what's happening today, and most exciting what's going to be happening in the next five to 10 years in Ybor City. So it is a place that's loved by tourists. It's a place of love by the local community. And it's especially loved by the people that live in work in Ybor City," explained Lee Bell, President and CEO of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce.

The group is looking toward the future of development in Ybor while also maintaining the area's historic past.

Friends of Ybor plan dog park for area

Soon you'll be able to bring your dog to the Ybor City Dog Park.

It's a vision of Friends of Ybor, a nonprofit aimed at creating "thoughtfully curated public spaces" in the city.

The 4,000 square foot dog park will take over a currently vacant lot at 18th street and 4th Avenue. It will also become the nonprofit's inaugural project.

Hotel Haya pays homage to Ybor's historic past

Hotel Haya is named in honor of Ignacio Haya, a man who owned a cigar factory in Ybor and rolled the first cigar in Tampa.

The new construction part of the hotel is the old El Dorado Hotel and Casino, which was run by Charlie Wall.

Today, the hotel features 178 rooms, a pool, restaurant and cafe.

USF's Center for Digital Heritage works to preserve Tampa's architectural history

The Center for Digital Heritage and Geospatial Information in USF's Libraries is using 3D scanning to preserve Tampa's architectural history.

According to a press release, the center is bringing together 3D experts from the Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections (DHHC) and the GIS Alliance group as part of a new official Center designation by the University and recently approved by the Board of Governors.

The new facility is home to advanced 3D and imaging equipment and provides an organization unit for research, addressing real-world challenges in heritage preservation and helping to produce archival records and library collections of distinction using 3D imaging and related technologies.

Tampa Baseball Museum gives glimpse into the past

"It’s endless. It’s a bottomless pit of history."

Ybor City Museum Society President & CEO Chantal Hevia's description of the Tampa Baseball Museum at the Al Lopez house is 100% accurate.

"There’s an enormous amount of history," said Hevia said. "I could spend the rest of my life learning and not learn enough."

Parking on 7th Avenue in Ybor City will now cost $1.50 an hour

Big changes are about to come to Ybor City parking.

“If they’re free most people want to park in those parking spaces,” said Fed Revolte, the Parking Division Manager at the City of Tampa.

But, that desire to land a free space a few steps from Ybor’s main shops and restaurants has caused major congestion, according to the city. It’s why the city will now turn them into metered parking and charge $1.50 an hour.

In-Depth: The Afro Cubana who helped revolutionary leader Jose Martí in Tampa

As we continue our Hispanic Heritage Month coverage, we take an in-depth look at the life of an Afro-Cuban woman who was instrumental in helping Cuban liberator Jose Martí.

In-depth reporter Anthony Hill spoke with two historians about the legacy Paulina Pedroso left in Tampa and Cuba.

She’s known as “The Black Mother” of Cuban independence leader Jose Martí. An Afro Cubana who moved to Ybor City in 1892, by way of Key West. This is the story of Paulina Pedroso.