TAMPA, Fla. -- Before thousands of visitors hit the rides at Busch Gardens, they drive past abandoned buildings, cheap motels and liquor stores.
“The city just forgot about us. I feel like we are the forgotten stepchild or that missed gem is what I call it," said Lesem Ramos.
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Ramos is trying to make sure people don’t forget about this part of Tampa.
He formed the Terrace Park Neighborhood Association and is beginning to meet with city leaders to see how they can make things better here.
“I see the opportunity for redevelopment out here," Ramos said "There’s a lot of a people trying to do that here.”
Tampa City Councilman Luis Viera says other places like downtown have gotten plenty of attention, but now there is a need to work on the area around Busch Gardens.
“They see a corridor of neglect. They see a corridor of wasted opportunities," Viera said.
He wants to start with making the area safer. That means dealing with crime and dangerous drivers.
“We have to do something about the speeders there including having a lower speed limit," Viera said.
Proposals to make Busch better include cracking down on code enforcement issues, new lighting and new development.
“We’ve got to have an agenda that puts Busch Boulevard first so that we can push what I call a Busch Boulevard brand," Viera said.
As for Ramos, he is energized and ready to get to work. He wants to start by meeting with Tampa’s new mayor and get Busch Gardens involved too.
“We are just trying to put a voice in our neighborhood again and I’m gonna be that champion and that voice and I want the city to hear us," Ramos said.