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Temple Terrace residents pushing city to create new downtown area

Some worried city will sell land to big-box store
Posted at 6:34 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-18 02:25:11-04

Some in Temple Terrace are concerned an empty plot of city-owned land will be turned into another big-box store or chain retailer.

Business Ink Printing in Temple Terrace is right across the street from 56th and Busch, a piece of land that's been empty for years. April Long, one of the shop's owners, is hoping for change.

"There's a lot of decay and things going on too that I don't like to see in my city," Long said.

She is one of many who are hoping the lot will be turned into what would be considered a new Downtown Temple Terrace.

Instead of empty parking lots, they would like to see a mixed-use plan for the land, including apartments, condos, restaurants, office spaces and green space.

This is all a part of an original idea city leaders and community members came up with together several years ago, Long said.

"We just need some place where people can shop and go and enjoy themselves and have a good meal," Long said.,

But then, community members say delays happened when it came to developing the land and it has since sat vacant.  Now, the City of Temple Terrace is planning to sell the land again. 

However, some community members are concerned the city will sell the land only to the highest bidder instead of what they feel is the best option for the area to grow and develop.

A core group of residents are closely following the issue, attending city council meetings and are now e-mailing city leaders, urging them to stay in line with a mixed-use plan for the property.

Some Temple Terrace residents told ABC Action News they want to see mid-to-high density development that will generate long-term tax revenue to help sustain Temple Terrace. Single story options simply will not generate the tax revenue we need to stay viable, they said.

Travis Malloy, a Temple Terrace small business owner, passes this lot every day on the way to his farm.

"Once we lose this piece of undeveloped land, we're not going to have another chance," Malloy said.

City Manger Charles W. Stephenson said he could say very little at this time about the plans for the land because it is currently up for bid. (Check out the current REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL). City leaders are taking bids from all different kinds of companies. Stephenson said. However, just because a bid is taken doesn't mean that city leaders will approve it, he said.

The city will stop accepting bids for the land on May 26th. 

In the meantime, residents like Malloy are pushing for city leaders to stay as close as possible to the idea for a new Downtown Temple Terrace.

"There's no other spot in town that could be a Downtown area," Malloy said.