TAMPA Fla. — From re-imagining transportation in Tampa to trying to create more affordable housing, and now managing how Tampa rebounds from a global health crisis, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor’s first year in office has at times felt more like a New York minute.
She told ABC Action News Anchor Paul LaGrone, she’s been so busy she did not even realize it was her first anniversary as Mayor.
“It has gone by very quickly, to a point, and as a friend of mine said during this COVI-19, that the month of March was the longest year of my life,” says Castor.
Mayor Castor is laser-focused these days on lifting the city of Tampa up and out of the grips of the coronavirus.
Q: How does the city of Tampa rebound from this?
A: We are going to do a great job of rebounding. We did very well through the virus. We were able to keep the positive cases down, and I’m pleased with the governor focusing on the science of opening the state back up. And doing it very slowly and incrementally so that if we do have a surge in cases, we can dial back quickly and deal with whatever comes our way.
Q: Do you have a goal in mind of when you would like to be back at a certain level of normality by?
A: You know it’s funny people ask about that. I just left a meeting and staff meeting, we were talking about the opening of the restaurants and how we are going to craft that plan and help move that along and people are asking for dates, and it’s difficult to provide any definitive date. But I am hopeful that by the end of this summer, we can get kids back to school and start getting back to a sense of normalcy in our community.
Meanwhile, the Mayor says the city is still working on long term projects like improving mass transit in Tampa, and providing more affordable housing.
Q: What about the Super Bowl in Tampa next year?
A: With the Super Bowl, we are still planning for that and are hopeful that we get a vaccine by that time. If not, I’m confident that there will be a series of tests or steps that will allow us to identify who has had COVID-19 — therefore has antibodies and a level of immunity and that we will be able to identify. You know it may be a Super Bowl that has a requirement of facial coverings; I believe that is going to be a new normal for our country as well.
Q: So as far as you know, the Super Bowl is still on with fans or is that a mountain we have to climb, we have to earn it, I guess as a country.
A: In my mind, we are there, but clearly you can’t predict with a great deal of accuracy the future. Although I have predicted the Bucs will be the first to win in our own backyard.