Ybor group using cameras to bust city's party-central reputation

New web series seeks to boost economic growth
Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-29 17:58:02-04

Could Ybor's long standing reputation for partying be scaring off families and businesses? One group seems to think so and now they are using a camera to try to squash that stereotype.

It's a charming historic district by daylight but come sundown it has a reputation not quite so innocent.

"So, I never understood why people didn't want to give Ybor a second chance," said Roberto Torres.

He's a Panamanian immigrant who opened the Blind Tiger Cafe in 2013 despite the non-stop warnings to avoid Ybor. It's a perception the Ybor City Development Corporation has heard before.

"Busting that myth that you can't walk in Ybor city safely," Courtney Orr says it's a priority for YCDC.

The numbers tell a different story from perception, Ybor City had a 44 percent reduction in property crimes in 2016 compared to the previous year and violent crimes went down nearly 15 percent.

That's why, YCDC is broadcasting a web series called the Faces of Ybor. The agency is optimistic a PR fix will bring economic growth.

"A lot of people sometimes don't toot their own horns so this is a creative way to broadcast those success stories that they may not otherwise tell about themselves," said Orr.

Torres is the first featured in the series and he too has high hopes.

"You want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly," he said, "So, I think we have taken it in stride and understood that the district needs help."

For those who call the city sketchy he has the following words.

"Come experience Ybor City," said Torres.